In a ground-breaking Australian first, RSPCA NSW is partnering with Dignity Ltd to launch RSPCA NSW’s Safe Families Project pilot that will see the very urgent yet often forgotten issue of providing safe passage and safety to people fleeing family violence situations with pets.
There are only two domestic violence shelters in the country that allow pets, while up to 85% of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their partner had threatened, injured or killed the family pet. Short-term housing such as motels almost never allow pets either, so for someone fleeing a violence family situation with pets there are not many options.
Domestic and family violence is the principal cause of homelessness for women and children, while one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
"The human-animal bond is incredibly powerful, providing stress relief, emotional support and unconditional love, and for those who have survived traumatic situations, this relationship is vital,” comments RSPCA NSW Community Outreach Programs Manager Sandra Ma.
“When left with few options, victims may be forced to give up this source of love or stay in an abusive relationship. If refuges become pet friendly, this creates a better outcome for a greater number leaving violent situations.”
Twelve independent studies report that between 18% and 48% of women (33% of women in Australia according to a 2008 study) have delayed leaving, or have returned to, their abuser out of fear for the welfare of their pets or livestock.
RSPCA NSW’s Safe Beds For Pets program has helped over 1,100 pets caught in domestic violence situations through support, emergency boarding and transport since the program’s conception in 2004 and received almost 340 calls for help last year. However, this means (temporarily) separating humans
with their pets, at a time when they are required most to reduce stress and hardship.
Through a partnership with Dignity refuges, RSPCA NSW’s Safe Families Project pilot program will provide a framework and practical support to refuges throughout NSW to be able to accommodate humans and pets together on-site, providing a safe enclosure, food, preventative treatment, and other
materials needed to accommodate animals in the refuge.
The pilot is an Australian first and addresses a critical issue and gap in the support system for the thousands of people that seek safety from family violence each year. The pilot commenced on 1st July 2017 and will run for nine months.
The framework developed from this pilot project will be offered to refuges across the state wanting to become pet friendly, in the hope that safe spaces for survivors of violence to be sheltered with their pets will become the norm.
Read more here: http://rspcansw.org/2tKkoeP
This article is copied from here.
Safe Beds For Pets: NSW's RSPCA launch Australia's first pilot program sheltering family violence survivors and pets together