There's no doubt a connection between animal abuse and domestic violence. It's been found that animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse a person and children from violent homes contribute to one fifth of animal abuse cases. Because of this, animal abuse has been deemed an 'indicator crime' and is many times the first instance of violence in soon-to-be abusive households. While many domestic abuse victims remain in silence, there are ways that investigators and the law are trying to bridge the two forms of abuse and help the victims of both.
Felony In The Presence Of Children
Children who witness animal abuse are three times more likely to abuse animals themselves. This is especially alarming when you consider that 75% of reported animal abuse incidents are committed in the presence of either women or children. While disappointing, most domestic violence cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. To combat this, some states have laws in place that regard any act of animal cruelty in front of a child a felony.
Your Pet Can Get A PPO
Personal protection orders that include and afford pets the same protection as human family members have been enacted as well and can help domestic violence victims escape abusers. Almost half of all victims reported staying in a dangerous situation because they were afraid to leave a pet behind, a pet who was many times used by the abuser to control the victim. The ability of shelters to accept victims, as well as their pets, can also help those affected to break away.
Working With Veterinarians
Investigative collaboration between social services, animal protection agencies and veterinarians can help identify correlations in abuse cases. Because of the clear connections between animal and domestic abuse, all but fifteen states require veterinarians to report suspected abuse. For those victims who are fearful for their animals, this provides an opportunity for intervention and the maximum protection for them, and their pets.
The Importance Of Psychological Evaluation
But animal abuse isn't only an indicator of domestic violence. Research has shown that almost half of all convicted rapists admit to torturing and abusing animals when they were young and 100% of those who committed sexual homicide had a history of animal abuse. Another study found that animal abusers were 500 times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes. Because of these related tendencies, psychological testing of animal abusers is incredibly important and could help combat future crimes. Sadly, there are still nineteen states that don't require testing of those arrested or convicted of animal cruelty.