Animal Studies Journal


A study of five women who had left violent relationships six months previously was undertaken to elicit information on the importance of companion animals during the violence and subsequent period. The questions focused on the women’s experiences of companion animal ownership during domestic violence, incidents of animal abuse/neglect, animals’ behavioural changes, experiences of veterinarians as a source of support and perpetrators’ use of human/animal directed violence. We found that (1) companion animal behavioural changes persisted after the violent relationship, (2) perpetrators selectively controlled their violent behaviour and (3) veterinarians were not considered useful sources of support by all women interviewed. To address these issues we recommend that veterinarians are educated in the best ways to offer support in cases of domestic violence co-occurring to companion animals.

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