ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

Over the past three decades, a growing body of research has focused on experiences of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) among people of diverse genders and/or sexualities. Missing, however, has been a focus on what is known as “the link” between DVA and animal cruelty with regard to people of diverse genders and/or sexualities. The present article reports on a study of 503 people living in either Australia or the United Kingdom, who reported on both their intimate human relationships and their relationships with animals, including relationships that were abusive. In terms of “the link,” a fifth of respondents who had experienced violence or abuse also reported that animal cruelty had been perpetuated by the violent or abusive partner. Statistical interactions were found between having witnessed animal cruelty perpetrated by a partner, gender and sexuality, and both psychological distress and social connectedness. Female participants who had witnessed animal cruelty reported greater psychological distress and lower levels of social support, and both lesbian and bisexual participants who had witnessed animal cruelty reported lower levels of social support. The article concludes by considering the implications of these findings for future research and service provision.
The link between domestic violence and abuse and animal
cruelty in the intimate relationships of people of diverse
genders and/or sexualities: A bi-national study
Damien W. Riggs*
College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Flinders University
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide, South Australia, 5001
+61 8 8201 2786
damien.riggs@flinders.edu.au
Nik Taylor
College of Arts, Humanties and Social Sciences
Flinders University
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide, South Australia, 5001
n.taylor@flinders.edu.au
Heather Fraser
School of Social Sciences
QUT
Kelvin Grove Campus
Brisbane, Queensland
heather.fraser@qut.edu.au
Catherine Donovan
Faculty of Education and Society
University of Sunderland
Priestman Building
Green Terrace
Sunderland
SR1 3PZ
catherine.donovan@sunderland.ac.uk
Tania Signal
School of Human, Health and Social Sciences
Central Queensland University
Building 32
Bruce Highway
Rockhampton, Queensland, 4702
t.signal@cqu.edu.au
*corresponding author
Acknowledgements
Riggs, Fraser and Taylor would like to acknowledge that they live and work on the lands of the
Kaurna people, and to acknowledge their sovereignty as First Nations people. Signal would like to
acknowledge the sovereignty of the Darumbal people, upon whose land she lives and works. No
funding was received for the project reported in this paper, although the first author was supported
by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, FT130100087.
This is an Author Accepted version of a manuscript published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Copyright
SAGE. doi: 10.1177/0886260518771681
Abstract
Over the past three decades a growing body of research has focused on experiences of domestic
violence and abuse (DVA) amongst people of diverse genders and/or sexualities. Missing, however,
has been a focus on what is known as ‘the link’ between DVA and animal cruelty with regard to
people of diverse genders and/or sexualities. The present paper reports on a study of 503 people
living in either Australia or the United Kingdom, who reported on both their intimate human
relationships and their relationships with animals, including relationships that were abusive. In
terms of ‘the link’, a fifth of respondents who had experienced violence or abuse also reported that
animal cruelty had been perpetuated by the violent or abusive partner. Statistical interactions were
found between having witnessed animal cruelty perpetrated by a partner, gender and sexuality, and
both psychological distress and social connectedness. Female participants who had witnessed
animal cruelty reported greater psychological distress and lower levels of social support, and both
lesbian and bisexual participants who had witnessed animal cruelty reported lower levels of social
support. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these findings for future research
and service provision.
Introduction
Historically, research on experiences of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) has primarily focused
on the abuse of (nominally cisgender – i.e., not transgender) women by their (nominally cisgender)
male partners (Donovan & Hester, 2014). More recently, a growing body of research has examined
DVA as it occurs in the relationships of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (see Brown & Herman,
2015; Buller, Devries, Howard & Bacchus, 2014; Rothman, Exner & Baughman, 2011 for
summaries), with attention to the experiences of transgender people also growing (e.g., Roch,
Morton & Ritchie, 2010). Whilst this growth in research is to be welcomed, there has been almost
no attention to date on what is understood to be ‘the link’ between DVA and animal cruelty in the
intimate relationships of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities, specifically referring here
towards cruelty directed at an animal companion who lives in the home (i.e., a domesticated
animal). This is a significant gap in the literature, given research into links between DVA and
animal cruelty among cisgender cohorts increasingly shows the importance of recognizing animal
cruelty as a marker for human-human interpersonal violence (Becker & French, 2004; DeGue &
DiLillo, 2009).
Given this gap in the literature, the present paper makes a significant contribution by reporting on a
bi-national study of ‘the link’ between DVA and animal cruelty amongst a sample of people of
diverse genders and/or sexualities living in either Australia or the United Kingdom. Specifically, the
study explored the degree to which both DVA and animal cruelty occurred; to whom it most
occurred; responses to abuse; and the relationship between experiences of abuse, psychological
distress, and social support. The sections that follow first provide an overview of research on the
link between DVA and animal cruelty and experiences of both amongst people of diverse genders
and/or sexualities, followed by an outline of the study and its methods. The findings are then
presented and discussed both with regard to the previous literature, and what they would appear to
suggest about implications for DVA and animal cruelty research and service provision.
Literature Review
‘The Link’ Between DVA and Animal Cruelty
The ‘Link’ as it is commonly described acknowledges a relationship between cruelty directed at
non-human animals and concurrent or subsequent violence or abuse directed at humans (e.g.,
Becker & French, 2004; DeGue & DiLillo, 2009; Onyskiw, 2007). Original conceptualisations of
the link promoted a causal relation, where early witnessing of or engagement in animal cruelty by
children was seen as leading to violence against both humans and animals in adulthood (e.g., Wax
& Haddox, 1974). This ‘graduation thesis’, however, has been vigorously debated (e.g., Gullone,
2014; Walters, 2013), and researchers have increasingly conceptualised animal cruelty as part of a
wider dynamic of antisocial and violent behaviour directed at marginalised or vulnerable others
(Dadds, Turner & McAloon, 2002).
One area that has seen a great deal of recent research is the positioning of animals within violent or
abusive human intimate partner relationships. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated higher rates of
threatened and actual harm of animals in relationships where DVA is occurring (e.g., Ascione,
Webber & Wood, 1997; Volant, Johnson, Gullone & Coleman, 2008). Volant, Johnson, Gullone,
and Coleman, for example, compared the experiences of 102 Australian women who had
experienced DVA with a demographically-matched sample of 102 women without DVA
experience. They found that more than half of the women who had experienced DVA reported that
their animal companions had been harmed, and 17% of these reported that their animal companions
had been killed. This contrasted with only 6% of the matched sample reporting harm of animals,
and no animal companion deaths.
There are many concerns relating to DVA and animal safekeeping. Animals can be deliberately
targeted for harm by the abuser to maintain the human victim’s compliance, silence, or to punish
perceived wrongs committed (e.g., Collins et al. 2017; DeGue & Di Lillo 2009). The close
emotional bonds that exist between many human victims of DVA and their animals (e.g., Ascione
et al., 2007; Fitzgerald, 2007), coupled with isolation from other sources of emotional support
typically enforced by an abuser, means that threats of harm to beloved animals is a particularly
effective abuse tactic (Upadhya, 2014). Now well documented is the concern for the wellbeing of
animals (or ‘fellow sufferers’, Fitzgerald, 2007) can lead to DVA victims delaying leaving,
remaining in, or returning to abusive relationships (e.g. Ascione et al., 2007; Faver & Strand, 2003;
Newberry, 2017; !"#$%&'()*#+,$#%&-'(.$*%#'(/0"-+10'(2(!3%&'(456789((
Studies (with cisgender cohorts) clearly show that women specifically are negatively impacted by
witnessing animal cruelty (Arluke, 2002). Initial fear is typically followed by grief which can be
compounded by guilt if women feel relief that the animal was targeted instead of them (Faver &
Strand, 2007). This may be further complicated by responses to the specific behavior women are
coerced into enacting through threats to their animal companions. For example, Loring and Bolden-
Hines (2004) reported that the 52 women in their sample who had been forced to commit illegal
acts due to threats against their animal companions felt “a sense of desperation and anguish at
having to violate their own value systems and become victim-perpetrators” (p. 33). Schaeffer
(2007) notes that whilst there has been little research on either short or long-term effects of
witnessing animal cruelty, it is reasonable to assume that these will be similar to those effects
identified from witnessing or experiencing other forms of violence and abuse, which include trauma
related symptoms, anxiety, anger and helplessness (Low, Radhakrishnan, Schneider & Rounds,
2007).
People of Diverse Genders and/or Sexualities, Animal Companions, and Abuse
Existing research suggests that experiences of DVA across all sexualities and genders are similar,
involving physical, emotional, financial, and sexual-based violence and abuse and coercively
controlling behaviours (Donovan & Hester, 2014). Key differences in the experiences of those of
diverse genders and/or sexualities compared with their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts, reflect
the discriminatory context in which the former live. Identity-based abuse takes specific forms in the
intimate relationships of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities, and may often draw on
societal tropes which position those of diverse genders and/or sexualities as pathological, deviant or
immoral. For example, abusive partners may threaten to out their victim (Brown & Herman, 2015;
Guadalupe-Diaz, 2013; Ristock, 2002). Outing takes place when an abusive partner threatens to, or
actually does, tell significant others such as employers, friends, faith communities or children’s
services about the sexuality and/or gender of their partner without their consent (Grant et al., 2011;
Head & Milton, 2015). Outing can also occur in relation to a person’s HIV status, typically for gay
men but also for transgender people (Grant et al., 2011).
Identity abuse also occurs when partners control the appearance of their partner. Lesbians have
reported being pressured to either ‘soften’ or feminise their appearance or, conversely, to present in
more ‘butch’ ways (Renzetti, 1992; Ristock, 2002). Transgender people report being pressured into
wearing particular clothes, hairstyles, less or more make-up; of having their bodies shamed; of
being deliberately misgendered (Goodmark, 2012). Transgender people also report identity abuse
through medications and/or hormones being withdrawn, being financially abused by withholding
costs associated with transitioning, and being kept from attending clinic appointments (Grant et al.,
2011; Roch et al., 2010). People of diverse genders and/or sexualities also report being victimised
by what Donovan and Hester (2014) call ‘experiential power’, referring to an abusive partner’s
apparently superior knowledge about what being gender and/or sexuality diverse means, and how
relationships might be practiced, which can result in controlling and abusive behaviours (see also
Ristock, 2002).
When DVA does occur in the intimate relationships of people of diverse gender and/or sexualities,
discriminatory social contexts (or the perception of them) can also impact on help-seeking
practices. Liang, Goodman, Tummala-Narra and Weintraub (2005) suggest that help-seeking is a
non-linear process including recognition and naming of the problem, making the decision to seek
help, and selecting a provider of help. For people of diverse genders and/or sexualities, all three
aspects of this help-seeking process might be hindered because of the discriminatory context in
which they live. The heteronormative and cisgenderist presentation of DVA has been identified as
a key barrier to those of diverse genders and/or sexualities identifying, naming, and therefore
seeking help for their experiences as DVA (for an overview of the literature on help-seeking in
North America see Guadalupe-Diaz, 2013). These problems may be exacerbated by animal
companion ownership, given the limited availability of service provision for humans and their
animals when leaving abusive or violent relationships.
The issue of animal cruelty in the relationships of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities has
received little attention to date. Two exceptions to this are studies by Renzetti (1988) and Donovan
and Hester (2014), although it must be noted that animal cruelty was not the focus of either study.
In Renzetti’s (1988) classic study of intimate partner violence and abuse in lesbian relationships,
she mentions in passing that 31% of the 100 lesbian women she surveyed reported that an animal
companion had been abused, though of these 31 women 16 reported that a partner abused an animal
rarely, 14 reported that this occurred sometimes, and only 1 reported that an animal was abused
frequently. Also in passing, Donovan and hester (2015) note that in their survey of 746 people
living in the United Kingdom (of whom the majority were lesbians or gay men), 4% reported ever
having been in a relationship where an animal was abused. Whilst these rates are lower than that
reported in previous research with cisgender heterosexual cohorts, they nonetheless suggest that the
link between DVA and animal cruelty is applicable to the relationships of people of diverse genders
and/or sexualities.
Research Aims
Whilst there is now a significant body of research focused on DVA in the intimate relationships of
people of diverse genders and/or sexualities, almost no research has focused on the link between
DVA and animal cruelty in such relationships. Given what we know of the link in the context of
cisgender, heterosexual relationships, it is reasonable to suggest that animal cruelty is likely to
occur within the intimate relationships of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities, that this is
likely to bear a relationship to responses to DVA, and that it is likely to impact upon psychological
distress and social support. As such, the research aims of the current study were to identify:
1) The prevalence of DVA and animal cruelty in the lives of people of diverse genders and/or
sexualities;
2) Whether there are differences amongst people of diverse genders and/or sexualities in terms
of the forms of DVA and animal cruelty experienced;
3) How people of diverse genders and/or sexualities respond to DVA (including animal
cruelty) in terms of leaving the relationship and seeking help; and
4) The relationship between experiences of DVA (including animal cruelty) and measures of
attitudes towards humans and animals, social support, and psychological distress.
Method
Participants and Procedure
Inclusion criteria were 1) having a diverse gender and/or sexuality, 2) being aged 18 years and over,
and 3) living in either Australia or the United Kingdom. Participants did not need to be living with
animal companions nor did they have to have experienced abuse to participate. Participants were
recruited via posts on social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook), in emails shared via organizations (i.e.,
the LGBTI Health Alliance), and in emails to listservs (i.e., human-animal studies).
Of the 503 participants, 258 lived in Australia and 244 lived in the United Kingdom. Demographic
information is provided in Table 1. The mean age of participants living in Australia was 39.40
(SD=30.04), and in the United Kingdom the mean age was 38.45 (SD=12.46). Ages ranged from 18
years to 81 years.
[INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE]
Participants completed a questionnaire designed by the authors based upon previous research by
Donovan and Hester (2014), hosted on SurveyMonkey. The questionnaire design was non-
experimental, between-subjects, intended as a scoping study given the relative lack of research on
the topic. The questionnaire was open from January 15th 2016 and closed on August 5th 2016. The
majority of participants (64%) completed the questionnaire within the first month it was open. A
total of 578 people commenced the questionnaire; however, of these, only 503 completed all of the
scales and are included in the analysis. Given that information about the questionnaire was shared
widely, it is not possible to provide an estimate of response rates.
Questionnaire Materials
The first six questions were demographic, and were answered by participants living in both
countries (see Table 1 and text above). Participants living in Australia then answered four
Australian-specific demographic questions included in Table 1, whilst participants living in the
United Kingdom answered the four UK-specific demographic questions also included in Table 1.
Further demographic questions were then completed by all participants, focused on cohabitation
(including with an animal companion – options given to participants being dogs, cats, rats, reptiles
or fish) and being in an intimate relationship (see Table 1).
Participants then chose whether or not to complete a series of questions about their experiences of
DVA and animal cruelty. Each of emotional, physical, sexual, financial, and identity-related abuse
were presented on a separate page, so that participants could choose to skip pages that did not apply
to them (see Table 2 for how each form of abuse was described to participants). Each of these pages
contained the following. First, a multiple choice question about who had perpetrated the abuse, the
options being DVA by either an intimate partner or a family member, and animal cruelty by either
an intimate partner or a family member. Only responses about DVA or animal cruelty in an intimate
relationship are reported here. Second, participants were asked to respond to a multiple choice
question asking whether the abuse was a one-off incident in an ongoing relationship, a one-off
incident that precipitated the participant ending the relationship, or an ongoing relationship where
abuse continued to be perpetrated against either the participant or/and their animal companion(s).
Finally, participants were asked if they had sought support with regard to animal cruelty (yes or no),
and if they had sought support with regard to DVA (yes or no). Having completed (or skipped) the
questions on DVA and animal cruelty, participants then completed four scales, outlined below.
[INSERT TABLE 2 HERE]
Pet Attitude Scale.
The first was the Pet Attitude Scale (PAS; Templer, Salter, Dickey, Baldwin & Veleber, 1981). The
18 items on the PAS are scored on a 7-point Likert scale, from strongly disagree to strongly agree,
and include two complementary types of questions. The first type endorses the idea that
domesticated animals are part of the family and bring happiness to the lives of humans. The second
type endorses the idea that animals do not bring humans happiness and should not be treated with
positive regard. This latter type of questions are reverse scored before computing a composite score
(possible range 18-126, with higher scores indicating more positive attitudes towards animal
companions). Templer and colleagues (1981) reported high reliability in their application of the
scale (a=.93), and reported strong divergent validity when compared to a measure of
psychopathology. The reliability of the PAS when applied to the sample was similarly high, a=.916.
The sample mean for the PAS was 101.45 (SD=15.21), indicating that overall the sample had very
positive attitudes towards animals.
Liking People Scale.
The second scale was the Liking People Scale (LPS; Filsinger, 1981). The 15 items on the LPS are
scored on a 5-point Likert scale, from strongly agree to strongly disagree, and again include two
complementary types of questions. The first type endorses the idea that other humans are an
important part of human wellbeing. The second type endorses the idea that other humans are
inessential to human wellbeing. The former type of question is reverse scored before computing a
composite score (possible range 15- 75, with higher scores indicating greater endorsement that
other humans are an important part of human wellbeing). In testing the scale, Filsinger (1981)
reported that across three studies, the LPS demonstrated high internal reliability (a=.85; a=.75;
a=.78) and was negatively correlated with a measure of misanthropy, and positively correlated with
measures of affiliation, suggesting strong construct validity. The reliability of the LPS when applied
to the sample was similarly high, a=.891. The sample mean for the LPS was 50.71 (SD=10.72),
indicating that overall the sample had mostly positive views of other humans.
Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10).
The next scale was the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10; Kessler et al., 2002). The 10
items on the K10 are scored on a 5-point Likert scale, from none of the time to all of the time. Items
focus on either anxiety or depression. The minimum possible score is 10 and the maximum is 50.
Normative data from the K10 suggest that 88% of people are likely to score below 20, and that of
those who score 25 or above, 66% are likely to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of clinical
depression or anxiety (Andrews & Slade, 2001). Andrews and Slade (2001) assessed the reliability
of the K10 through comparing scores on the K10 with the probability of meeting a psychiatric
diagnosis for psychological distress, finding a high association between the two. The reliability of
the K10 when applied to the sample was high, a=.931. The sample mean for the K10 was 22.53
(SD=8.83), indicating that overall the sample experienced greater levels of anxiety and depression
than would be expected from normative data.
Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support.
The final scale included was the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS;
Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet & Farley, 1988). The 12 items on the MSPSS are scored on a 7-point Likert
scale, from very strongly disagree to very strongly agree. Items focus on the degree of perceived
supportiveness of intimate partners, friends, and family members. The minimum possible score is
12 and the maximum is 84, with higher scores indicating greater perceived social support. In testing
the reliability of the MSPSS, Zimet and colleagues (1990) reported coefficient alpha values of
between .81 and .94 across various applications of the scale. The reliability of the MSPSS when
applied to the sample was similarly high, a=.92. The overall sample mean for the MSPSS was 34.92
(SD=9.21), indicating that overall the sample reported perceived social support below the midpoint
of the scale.
Analytic Approach
After the questionnaire was closed all data were exported into SPSS 21.0, where they were cleaned
in the following ways. First, negatively scored items on both the PAS and LPS were reverse scored,
and composite scores generated for these scales. Composite scores were also generated for the K10
and the MSPSS. Reliability testing was then run on each of the scales, and descriptive statistics for
these generated (see above).
Chi Square tests were performed to determine if there were any statistically significant differences
between country of residence and the categorical variables. As reported in Table 1, in terms of
cohabitation, participants in the United Kingdom were less likely to live with children than would
be expected in an even distribution, and participants in the United Kingdom were more likely to live
alone than would be expected in an even distribution. In terms of sexuality, participants in the
United Kingdom were less likely to identify as gay than would be expected in an even distribution,
and participants in the United Kingdom were more likely to identify as bisexual than would be
expected in an even distribution. Given these minimal differences between the two countries, the
two populations were treated as one sample for the purposes of the analyses presented below.
Cohen’s d was calculated for all t tests. Bonferroni corrected p values for determining significance
were used in cases where multiple tests were run. Reported values are significant with this
correction as indicated. For the analyses of variance, Levene’s Test of Equality of Variance was
used to test the assumption of equal variances, and to test the linearity of the data the Lack of Fit
test was used. For each, results were non-significant, indicating that there were equal variances
across groups examined, and that the data were linear. Finally, only statistically significant findings
are reported below.
Results
Prevalence of, and Responses to, Each Form of Abuse
Table 3 focuses on how participants responded to the violence or abuse that they or their animal
companions experienced. These figures are mutually exclusive, thus providing an indication of how
many participants in total reported each form of abuse.
[INSERT TABLE 3 HERE]
In terms of proportions, 40.55% of the overall sample had experienced emotional abuse, 23.06%
had experienced physical abuse, 16.50% had experienced sexual abuse, 11.33% had experienced
financial abuse, and 20.27% had experience identity abuse. In terms of animal cruelty, 7.2% of
participants reported emotional abuse of an animal companion, 3.8% reported physical abuse, 0.2%
reported sexual abuse, 0.4% reported financial abuse. In terms of co-occurrences, and looking at all
forms of abuse combined, of all participants who had experienced abuse by a partner, 21.0% had
also experienced the abuse of an animal companion.
Experiences of Abuse Differentiated by Gender, Sexuality, and Being Transgender
Table 4 reports descriptive statistics about each form of violence or abuse perpetrated against a
human, differentiated by participant gender, sexuality, and whether or not they had ever identified
as transgender. Animal cruelty is not included in this Table as there were no statistically significant
differences between participants in terms of who had experienced the abuse of an animal
companion.
[INSERT TABLE 4 ABOUT HERE]
In terms of gender, non-binary participants were more likely, and male participants were less likely,
to experience emotional abuse than would be expected in an even distribution, X2 (2, 488) = 9.271,
p = .01. Non-binary participants were also more likely, and female participants less likely, to
experience identity-related abuse than would be expected in an even distribution, X2 (2, 488) =
9.918, p = .007. Participants who had ever identified as transgender were more likely to experience
identity-related abuse than would be expected in an even distribution, X2 (1, 497) = 15.58, p = .001.
In terms of sexuality, queer or pansexual participants were more likely, and gay or lesbian
participants less likely, to experience emotional abuse than would be expected in an even
distribution X2 (6, 493) = 18.99, p = .004. Similarly, queer or pansexual participants were more
likely, and gay or lesbian participants less likely, to experience sexual abuse than would be
expected in an even distribution X2 (6, 493) = 13.98, p = .03.
Relationships Between Violence or Abuse and the Four Scales
Table 5 outlines the relationships between participants having experienced abuse and the PAS, LPS,
MSPSS, and K10, and between the four scales and whether or not an animal companion had
experienced any form of abuse.
[INSERT TABLE 5 HERE]
A series of two-way ANOVAs were conducted to examine the influence of an animal companion
being abused and participant gender, sexuality, and being transgender, on scores on the K10 and
MSPSS. The rationale for this were the relatively consistent finding of statistically significant
higher levels of psychological distress and lower levels of social support across the forms of abuse
experienced by participants, and the study focus on animal cruelty in the intimate relationships of
people of diverse genders and/or sexualities. In terms of the K10, the interaction effect was
significant for gender F (5, 421) = 3.693, p < .01, but not for sexuality or being transgender.
Specifically, female participants who had experienced an animal being abused reported much
higher levels of psychological distress than did male or non-binary participants. In terms of the
MSPSS, the interaction effect was significant for gender F (5, 411) = 3.588, p < .01 and sexuality F
(11, 404) = 2.788, p < .01, but not for being transgender. In terms of gender, female participants
who had experienced an animal being abused reported much lower levels of social support than did
male or non-binary participants. In terms of sexuality, lesbian and queer participants who had
experienced an animal being abused reported much lower levels of social support than any of the
other sexuality categories.
Discussion
The research reported in this paper makes a novel contribution to our understanding of the
relationship between DVA and animal cruelty in the lives of people of diverse genders and/or
sexualities. In terms of the research questions, the findings suggest a co-occurrence rate of DVA
and animal cruelty of 21%. This is slightly lower than has been found in other international research
(e.g., Barrett et al., 2017; Volant et al., 2008). One reason for these lower rates might arise from
differing approaches to measuring or defining animal cruelty. In terms of measurement, researchers
use a variety of scales or questions, including the Physical and Emotional Tormenting Against
Animals Scale for adolescents (Baldry, 2004), and the Pet Treatment Survey (Ascione, 2011;
McDonald et al, 2017; see also Anderson, 2007). The present study included examples of animal
cruelty alongside definitions of each form of DVA. In terms of definitions, an often used example is
“socially unacceptable behavior that intentionally causes unnecessary pain, suffering, or distress to
and/or death of an animal” (Ascione, 1993; for discussion and revision see Ascione & Shapiro,
2009), though the present study did not so clearly operationalize animal cruelty.
It might also be that there is something specific to the population studied that warrants further
attention in terms of awareness of instances of violence and abuse, towards both humans and
animals. For example, it might be that daily exposure to “casual” (although no less distressing or
damaging) forms of (usually identity-related) abuse perpetrated by other humans leads to a
desensitization when defining abuse (Nadal, Davidoff, Davis & Wong, 2014; Nadal et al., 2011).
The lower co-occurrence rate may also be explained by the fact that a majority of the sample were
lesbian women, and women are typically less likely to enact animal cruelty than are men (Herzog,
2007).
(
In terms of who was more likely to experience DVA, the findings reported here suggest that
identity-related abuse was more likely to be experienced by people who were not cisgender. This
has implications for help seeking behavior and service provision, given services often overlook the
specific needs of those who are not cisgender, such as transgender women (Riggs et al., 2016).
Again, when animal companions are factored into this, it becomes more complex given the scarcity
of services offering help for those wanting to remain with their animals when fleeing DVA.
Nonetheless, services need to be cognizant of the severity of identity-related abuse, that it often
necessitates individuals leaving abusive relationships, and that they may wish to do so with their
animal companions. Admittedly, there are often many obstacles to navigate (such as welfare
austerity and disinvestment in social housing), but some services and programs are, nevertheless,
recognizing the need to include people of diverse genders and/or sexualities (Fraser & Taylor,
2016). (
In terms of responses to violence or abuse, it is noticeable that only a small percentage of the
sample sought help for their animals specifically, although also of note is the fact that this
percentage was approximately the same across the categories of sexual and physical abuse. This
may be because little distinction is drawn between the sexual or physical abuse of animals, perhaps
because they are presumed not to share human norms about privacy and sex. This reflects the scant
research available addressing the psychological effects of abuse on animals, which tends to focus on
physical abuse, with no mention of whether this includes sexual abuse (e.g., McMillan et al, 2015;
Munro & Thrusfield, 2001). It is also worth noting that only one person indicated seeking help for
their animal due to financial abuse. This could be due to awareness that little help exists, and/or
that such forms of abuse are unlikely to be acknowledged. More research is needed to ascertain
why help seeking for animals is relatively low, and in the case of financial abuse specifically, might
be an area in which veterinary associations can make an important intervention (i.e., by offering
lower fees to those affected by DVA) and that insurance companies can address (by removing
clauses that make animal injuries due to DVA ineligible for insurance claims, see Signal et al.,
2017).
Finally, in terms of the relationships between DVA, animal cruelty, psychological distress, and
social support, the findings reported here support previous research in terms of the negative effects
of witnessing animal cruelty, alongside the well established negative psychological and social
effects of DVA (Arluke, 2002; Loring & Bolden-Hines, 2004). That this was especially true for
women amongst the sample again reiterates previous research in terms of gender differences with
regard to emotional connectedness and positive regard for animal companions (Herzog, 2007). It
should not be forgotten that women, across all categories of difference, continue to be subjected to
the highest rates of frequency and severity of abuse, and likelihood of sustaining serious injuries,
compared to men (Caldwell, Swan & Woodbrown, 2012).
Limitations and Recommendations for Future Research
In this study reports of animal cruelty and abuse may appear to be low. However, for a range of
reasons, there are problems reliably estimating animal cruelty and abuse (Flynn, 2001). Several
factors complicate the possibility of ascertaining baseline data about animal cruelty. These include
definitional differences in the construction of terms, such as whether they be limited to those acts
that are not socially sanctioned, which means excluding hunting, animal testing and agribusiness
(Gullone, 2012). The potential secrecy and invisibility of animal cruelty in homes, and the stigma
surrounding humans who commit animal cruelty, also influence disclosures and recorded incidence
rates. Still needed are large-scale studies that ascertain cruelty and rates across categories of abuse
and diversity of human populations.
Having noted the challenges of establishing baseline data about animal cruelty abuse, it is also
important to point out the limitations of the present study. Beyond defining what constitutes animal
cruelty, other limitations are evident, specifically the bias in the sample towards a population of
white, well-resourced people. Concern should be elicited not just for this group, but also for those
who are not white and/or who are less well resourced. Given that a relatively privileged cohort
reported on average relatively high scores on the K10, and relatively low scores on the MSPSS,
future research would benefit from focusing on less privileged cohorts, to ascertain whether they are
even more negatively impacted by experiences of DVA and animal cruelty.
Another limitation of the present study is the measure for social connectedness, which might not be
a particularly sensitive tool for use with people of diverse genders and/or sexualities who might
already be less socially connected, especially with family members, as a result of responses to their
sexuality and/or gender. Finally, in terms of geographical location, the questionnaire did not ask
participants whether they live in urban, regional, or remote areas. Collection of this information in
future research would help expand understanding of the specificity of experiences of DVA and
animal cruelty amongst people of diverse genders and/or sexualities.
In terms of future research, the findings suggest that both animal cruelty and identity abuse amongst
people of diverse genders and/or sexualities require ongoing and focused attention. Specifically,
qualitative research may be helpful to explore experiences of identity abuse in more depth, in
addition to qualitative research that explores the relationships that people of diverse genders and/or
sexualities experience with animal companions, including relationships where animal cruelty
occurs.
Implications for Service Provision
The findings from this study suggest that practitioners need training to be aware of how both
identity abuse and animal cruelty might be used to victimise and control people of diverse genders
and/or sexualities, as well as harming their animal companions; and how strong bonds with their
animal companions might prevent victimized partners leaving an abusive relationship. Intervention
tools also need to be scrutinised for relevance to both these populations. For instance, Donovan and
Hester (2014) suggested that the Duluth Power and Control Wheel needs to be amended to address
the heteronormativity inherent to it. Instead, they suggested the use of the COHSAR Power and
Control Wheel. In this wheel, ‘male privilege’ (in the Duluth Power and Control Wheel) is replaced
with ‘identity abuse’ and ‘entitlement abuse’. This recognises the ways in which abusive partners,
regardless of their sexuality or gender, are able to exploit social structural inequalities and
prejudicial beliefs and stereotypes about marginalised groups so as to further undermine and isolate
them from potential sources of support.
Training tools also need to include animal cruelty, and not as a subsidiary item, as is currently the
case in the Power and Control Wheel. This could be done by adding other 'pet-abuse' items in each
section, or by adding in a new section called 'Using animals' and listing possible examples, as has
been done for other sections such as, 'Using children' and 'Using male privilege' (Godsey &
Robinson, 2014). Similarly, in the Nonviolence and Equality Wheel, attention might also be given
to the recognition of animals' rights and welfare, under present headings such as, 'Respect',
'Nonthreatening behaviour', 'Negotiation and Fairness' and 'Trust and Support'
(Domesticshelters.org, 2015).
Prevention campaigns should ensure to promote sex and relationship education that is inclusive of
people of diverse genders and/or sexualities; enable recognition of DVA (using the COHSAR
power and control wheel to raise awareness of the range of tactics of abuse an abusive partner can
use, including identity abuse); and make clear the link between DVA and animal cruelty.
Prevention campaigns amongst communities of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities should
also work to achieve the same aims.
Conclusion
Animal companions can hold particular and unique meanings for people of diverse genders and/or
sexualities (Riggs et al, 2018). In the context of DVA amongst people of diverse genders and/or
sexualities, animal companions may thus play a significant role: both as tools of abuse, and as
reasons that people do not leave the relationship. As such, it is vital that researchers and
practitioners continue to focus on the intersections of human and animal wellbeing in the lives of
people of diverse gender and/or sexualities. Doing so will benefit the lives of both humans, and the
animals they live with.
References
Anderson, D. (2007). Assessing the human-animal bond: A compendium of actual measures.
Indiana: Purdue University Press.
Andrews, G., & Slade, T. (2001). Interpreting scores on the Kessler psychological distress scale
(K10). Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25(6), 494-497.
Arluke, A. (2002). Secondary victimization in companion animal abuse: The owner’s perspective.
In A. L. Podberscek, E. S., Paul, & J. A. Serpell (Eds), Companion animals and us: Exploring
the relations between people and pets (pp. 275-291). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press.
Ascione, F., Weber, C., & Wood, D. (1997). The abuse of animals and domestic violence: A
national survey of shelters for women who are battered. Society & Animals, 5, 205-218.
Ascione, F. R., Weber, C. V., Thompson, T. M., Heath, J., Maruyama, M., & Hayashi, K. (2007).
Battered pets and domestic violence: Animal abuse reported by women experiencing intimate
violence and by nonabused women. Violence Against Women, 13, 354-373.
Ascione, F. R. (2011). Pet treatment survey. Unpublished rating scale. Denver, CO: University of
Denver.
Ascione, F. R., & Shapiro, K. (2009). People and animals, kindness and cruelty: Research
directions and policy implications. Journal of Social Issues, 65(3), 569-587.
Baldry, A. (2004). The development of the P.E.T. scale for the measurement of physical and
emotional tormenting against animals in adolescents. Society & Animals, 12(1), 1-17.
Barrett, B.J., Fitzgerald, A., Stevenson, R., & Cheung, C.H. (2017). Animal Maltreatment as a Risk
Marker of More Frequent and Severe Forms of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of
Interpersonal Violence. Online First.
Becker, F., & French, L. (2004). Making the links: Child abuse, animal cruelty and domestic
violence. Child Abuse Review, 13(6), 399-414.
Brown, T. N. T. & Herman, J. L. (2015). Intimate partner violence and sexual abuse among LGBT
people: A review of existing research. Los Angeles: Williams Institute.
Buller, A. M., Devries, K. M., Howard, L. M., & Bacchus, L. J. (2014). Associations between
intimate partner violence and health among men who have sex with men: a systematic review
and meta-analysis. PLoS Med, 11(3), e1001609.
Caldwell, J. E., Swan, S. C., & Woodbrown, V. D. (2012). Gender differences in intimate partner
violence outcomes. Psychology of Violence, 2(1), 42.
Collins, E., Cody, A., McDonald, S., Nicotera, N., Ascione, F., & Williams, J. (2017). A template
analysis of intimate partner violence survivors’ experiences of animal maltreatment:
Implications for safety planning and intervention. Violence Against Women. Online First.
Dadds, M., Turner, C., & McAloon, J. (2002). Developmental links between cruelty to animals and
human violence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 35(3), 363-382.
DeGue, S., & DiLillio, D. (2009). Is animal cruelty a “red flag” for family violence? Investigating
co-occurring violence toward children, partners, and pets. Journl of Interpersonal Violence
24(6), 1036-1056.
Domesticshelters.org (2015). The Equality Wheel Explained. What it is and how it is different from
the Power and Control Wheel. Retrieved 12th March, 2018,
https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/the-equality-wheel-
explained#.WqX3o-hubIU
Donovan, C., & Hester, M. (2014). Domestic violence and sexuality: What’s love got to do with it?
Bristol: Policy Press.
Faver, C.A., & Strand, E. (2007) Fear, guilt, and grief: Harm to pets and the emotional abuse of
women. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 7(1), 51-70.
Filsinger, E. E. (1981). A measure of interpersonal orientation: The liking people scale. Journal of
Personality Assessment, 45(3), 295-300.
Fitzgerald, A. J. (2007). “They gave me a reason to live”: The protective effects of companion
animals on the suicidality of abused women. Humanity & Society, 31, 355-378.
Flynn, C. P. (2001). Acknowledging the ‘zoological connection’: A sociological analysis of animal
cruelty. Society & Animals, 9(1), 71-87.
Fraser, H., & Taylor, N. (2016). Researching Marginalized Issues, Policies, and Programs:
Companion Animals, Same-sex Abuse, and Housing. In Neoliberalization, Universities and
the Public Intellectual. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 61-83.
Godsey, C., & Robinson, R. (2014). Post-separation abuse featured in the new Duluth Power and
Control Wheel. Family and Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, 6(4), 101-104.
Goodmark, L. (2012). Transgender people, intimate partner abuse, and the legal system. Harvard
Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 48, 51-104.
Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., Tanis, J., Harrison, J., Herman, J. L. & Keisling, M. (2011). Injustice at
Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington:
National Center for Transgender Equality.
Guadalupe-Diaz, X. (2013). An exploration of differences in the help-seeking of LGBQ victims of
violence by race, economic class and gender. Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology
Review, 9(1), 15-33.
Gullone, E. (2012). Animal cruelty, antisocial behaviour, and aggression: More than a link.
London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Head, S. & Milton, M. (2014). Filling the silence: Exploring the bisexual experience of intimate
partner abuse. Journal of Bisexuality, 14, 277-299.
Herzog, H. A. (2007). Gender differences in human–animal interactions: A
review. Anthrozoös, 20(1), 7-21.
Kessler, R. C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L. J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D. K., Normand, S. L., Walters, E.
E., & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and
trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32(6), 959-976.
Liang, B., Goodman, L., Tummala-Narra, P., & Weintraub, S. (2005). A theoretical framework for
understanding help-seeking processes among survivors of intimate partner violence. American
Journal of Community Psychology, 36(1), 71-84
Loring, M.T., & Bolden-Hines, T.A. (2004). Pet abuse by batterers as a means of coercing battered
women into committing illegal behavior. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 4(1), 27-37.
Low, K. S. D., Radhakrishnan, P., Schneider, K. T., & Rounds, J. (2007). The experiences of by-
standers of workplace ethnic harassment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37 (10), 2261-
2297.
McDonald, S.E., Collins, E.A., Maternick, A., Nicotera, N., Graham-Bermann, S., Ascione, F.R., &
Williams, J.H. (2017). Intimate partner violence survivors’ reports of their children’s
exposure to companion animal maltreatment, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, online first.
McMillan, F.D., Duffy, D.L., Zawistowski, S.L., & Serpell, J.A. (2015) Behavioral and
psychological characteristics of canine victims of abuse, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare
Science, 18(1), 92-111,
Munro, H. M., & Thrusfield, M. V. (2001a). ‘Battered pets’: Features that raise suspicion of non-
accidental injury. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 42, 218–226.
Nadal, K. L., Wong, Y., Issa, M. A., Meterko, V., Leon, J., & Wideman, M. (2011). Sexual
orientation microaggressions: Processes and coping mechanisms for lesbian, gay, and
bisexual individuals. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 5(1), 21-46.
Nadal, K. L., Davidoff, K. C., Davis, L. S., & Wong, Y. (2014). Emotional, behavioral, and
cognitive reactions to microaggressions: Transgender perspectives. Psychology of Sexual
Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(1), 72.
Newberry, M. (2017). Pets in danger: Exploring the link between domestic violence and animal
abuse. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 34, 273-281.
Onyskiw, J. (2007). The link between family violence and cruelty to family pets. Journal of
Emotional Abuse, 7(3), 7-30.
Renzetti, C. M. (1992). Violent betrayal: Partner abuse in lesbian relationships. Thousand
Oaks,CA: Sage.
Renzetti, C. M. (1988). Violence in lesbian relationships: A preliminary analysis of causal
factors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3(4), 381-399.
Riggs, D. W., Fraser, H., Taylor, N., Signal, T., & Donovan, C. (2016). Domestic violence service
providers’ capacity for supporting transgender women: Findings from an Australian
workshop. British Journal of Social Work, 46, 2374-2392.
Riggs, D. W., Taylor, N., Signal, T., Fraser, H., & Donovan, C. (2018). People of diverse genders
and/or sexualities and their animal companions: Experiences of family violence in a bi-
national sample. Journal of Family Issues.
Ristock, J. (2002) No more secrets: Violence in lesbian relationships. London and New York:
Routledge.
Roch, A., Morton, J., & Ritchie, G. (2010). Out of sight, out of mind? Transgender people's
experience of domestic abuse. Edinburgh: Stop Domestic Abuse, Scottish Trans Alliance and
Equality Network.
Rothman, E. F., Exner, D., & Baughman, A. L. (2011). The prevalence of sexual assault against
people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual in the United States: A systematic
review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 12(2), 55-66.
Schaefer, K.D. (2007). Cruelty to animals and the short and long-term impact on victims. Journal of
Emotional Abuse, 7(3), 31-57.
Signal, T., Taylor, N., Burke, K. J., & Brownlow, L. (2017). Double jeopardy: Insurance, animal
harm, and domestic violence. Violence Against Women. Online First doi: 1077801217711266.
Templer, D. I., Salter, C. A., Dickey, S., Baldwin, R., & Veleber, D. M. (1981). The construction of
a pet attitude scale. The Psychological Record, 31, 343-348.
Upadhya, V. (2014). The abuse of animals as a method of domestic violence: The need for
criminalization. Emory Law Journal, 63(5), 1163-1209.
Volant, A., Johnson, J., Gullone, E., & Coleman, G. (2008). The relationship between domestic
violence and animal abuse: An Australian study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23(9),
1277-1295.
Walters, G. (2013). Testing the specificity postulate of the violence graduation hypothesis: Meta-
analyses of the animal cruelty-offending relationship. Aggression and Violent Behavior,
18(6), 797-802.
Wax, D., & Haddox, V.G. (1974). Enuresis, fire setting, and animal cruelty: A useful danger signal
in predicting vulnerability of adolescent males to assaultive behaviour. Child Psychiatry and
Human Development, 4, 151-156.
Wuerch, M. A., Giesbrecht, C. J., Price, J. A. B., Knutson, T., & Wach, F. (2017). Examining the
Relationship Between Intimate Partner Violence and Concern for Animal Care and
Safekeeping. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Article first published online: March 28,
2017. DOI: 10.1177/0886260517700618
Zimet, G.D., Powell, S.S., Farley, G.K., Werkman, S., & Berkoff, K.A. (1990). Psychometric
characteristics of the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Journal of
Personality Assessment, 55, 610-17.
Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K. (1988). The Multidimensional Scale of
Perceived Social Support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30-41.
:3,;#(69(<"+-$3;*30(30=(>0*-#=(/*0?=1@(A#@1?$3B&*%+(
(
(
>0*-#=(/*0?=1@(N"CD8"
E4(
p"
(
F3-#?1$G(
(
(
(
)#0=#$(H(
I#@3;#(
J3;#(
K10L,*03$G(
6OR(CRP9Q8(
OO(C449O8(
4R(C65978(
P9RM(
96R4(
ST#$(*=#0-*U*#=(3+(-$30+H(
V#+(
K1(
O5(C459O8(
6NQ(C779O8(
59RN(
9M5Q(
W#X"3;(1$*#0-3-*10H(
Y#+,*30(
)3G(
Z*+#X"3;(
[#-#$1+#X"3;(
.30+#X"3;(
<+#X"3;(
\"##$(
7Q(CP49M8(
MO(C6N9M8(
75(C4N978(
7(C49Q8(
47(C66968(
6(C59M8(
6O(CR968(
46954(
9556HHH(
S@B;1G@#0-(+-3-"+H(
S@B;1G#=(U";;(
-*@#(
S@B;1G#=(B3$-(
-*@#(
K1-(#@B;1G#=(
W-"=#0-(
]#-*$#=(
A*+3,;#='("03,;#(
-1(^1$_(
664(CMO9Q8(
(
PQ(C6R958(
(
6O(CR968(
P7(C6O948(
6P(CO9P8(
64(CM9Q8(
N96P(
96O6(
A*+3,*;*-GH(
.&G+*%3;(
J#0-3;(
Y#3$0*0?(
[`a(
4N(C669O8(
RN(C479Q8(
64(CO958(
Q(CP978(
69PM(
9NOM(
F1&3,*-3-*10HH(
.3$-0#$b+(
F&*;=b$#0(
SX-#0=#=(I3@*;G(
[1"+#@3-#b,1$=
#$(
I$*#0=+(
<0*@3;+(
<;10#(
64R(
P7(
4M(
6R(
(
67(
6RN(
R4(
O9M7(
6O94P(
P946(
9QN(
49MO(
49O5(
N9P7(
9PRN(
955RHHH(
(
97PO(
97PQ(
9P4M(
59RQ(
9557HHH(
`0(3($#;3-*10+&*BH(
V#+(
K1(
67O(C76978(
RQ(C4N9P8(
9R65(
9MPO(
SXB#$*#0%#=(U3@*;*3;(3,"+#(
V#+(
K1(
RR(C47958(
67N(C7P958(
(
(
<>(W-3-#(1$(:#$$*-1$G(
a*%-1$*3(
W1"-&(<"+-$3;*3(
K#^(W1"-&(
!3;#+(
\"##0+;30=(
K1$-&#$0(
:#$$*-1$G(
:3+@30*3(
!#+-#$0(
<"+-$3;*3(
<"+-$3;*30(
F3B*-3;(:#$$*-1$G(
(
(
(
<>(`0=*?#01"+(+-3-"+(
<,1$*?*03;(
:1$$#+(W-$3*-(
`+;30=#$(
K#*-&#$(
(
(
(
>/(03-*103;(*=#0-*-G(
Z$*-*+&(
S0?;*+&(
K1$-&#$0(`$*+(
W%1--*+&(
!#;+&(
6ON(CRM9N8(
P7(C6O948(
M(C69R8(
64(CM9Q8(
R(C49O8(
(
(
>/(#-&0*%*-G(
<+*30(
Z;3%_bF3$*,,#30
b<U$*%30(
F&*0#+#(
J*X#=(#-&0*%(
?$1"B(
!&*-#(
P(C6948(
6(C59M8(
(
4(C59N8(
M(C69R8(
(
4P5(CQM9P8(
(
(
`0%1@#(
>0=#$(c64'(555((
c64'556(L(c44'(
QQQ((
c4P'(555(L(cP4'(
QQQ((
cPP'(555(L(cM5'(
QQQ((
cM6'(555(L(cO5'(
QQQ((
cO6'(555(L(cR5'(
QQQ((
cR6'(555(L(c75'(
QQQ((
c76'(555(L(cN5'(
QQQ((
cN6'(555(L(cQ5'(
QQQ((
cQ6'(555(L(c655'(
555((
dT#$(c655'(556(
e5(f(e6N'455((
e6N'456(f(
eP7'555((
eP7'556(f(
eN5'555((
eN5'556(f(
e6N5'555((
e6N5'556(30=(
1T#$(
PQ(C6R958(
(
PQ(C6R958(
(
PM(C6P9Q8(
(
P4(C6P968(
(
P4(C6P968(
(
6Q(C79N8(
(
64(CM9Q8(
(
65(CM968(
(
7(C49Q8(
M(C69R8(
(
66(CM9O8(
(
(
S="%3-*103;(<%&*#T#@#0-(
>/(
)FWSbW-30=3$=(
?$3=#((
>/(Ka\bWa\((
>/(<(30=(<W(
;#T#;bZ:SFbC<=T
30%#=8((
>/([*?&#$(
A#?$##((
>/(.1+-?$3="3-#(
A#?$##((
>/(
.$1U#++*103;bT1%
3-*103;(
g"3;*U*%3-*10((
>/(K1(U1$@3;(
g"3;*U*%3-*10+(
<>(W<FS((
<>(F#$-*U*%3-#((
<>(A*B;1@3((
<>([*?&#$(
A#?$##(
<>(.1+-?$3="3-#(
A#?$##(
<>(K1(U1$@3;(
g"3;*U*%3-*10+(
P(C6948(
65(CM968(
(
PQ(C6R958(
N7(CPO978(
(
(
N7(CPO978(
(
67(C7958(
(
6(C59M8(
(
(
(
H(K1-(3;;(B3$-*%*B30-+(30+^#$#=(-&*+(g"#+-*10(
HH(F1&3,*-3-*10(%3-#?1$*#+(3$#(01-(@"-"3;;G(#X%;"+*T#(
HHH(p"T3;"#(*+(+*?0*U*%30-(^*-&(Z10U#$$10*(%1$$#%-*10(
:3,;#(49(A#+%$*B-*10+(1U(#3%&(U1$@(1U(3,"+#(B$1T*=#=(-1(B3$-*%*B30-+(
(
I1$@(1U(<,"+#(
A#+%$*B-*10(
(
S@1-*103;(
(
J3G(*0%;"=#(,#*0?(*+1;3-#=('(,#*0?(*0+";-#='(,#*0?(U$*?&-#0#='(,#*0?(-1;=(
^&3-(1$(^&1(-1(+##'(%1@B30*10(30*@3;(;1%_#=(1"-+*=#(30=("03,;#(-1(,#(
U#=(1$(?*T#0(^3-#$(1$(+&#;-#$'(,#*0?(T#$,3;;G(-&$#3-#0#='(,#*0?(,#;*--;#=(
1$(*?01$#='(1$($#+-$*%-*10+(10(U11=9(
.&G+*%3;(
J3G(*0%;"=#(,#*0?(+;3BB#='(_*%_#='(B"0%&#='($#+-$3*0#='(,*--#0'(
B&G+*%3;;G(-&$#3-#0#='(+-3;_#='(%&1%_#='(;1%_#=(*0(1$(1"-(1U(&1"+#(1$(
$11@'(&*-(^*-&(30(1,h#%-9(
W#X"3;(
J3G(*0%;"=#(,#*0?(-1"%&#=(*0(3(^3G(-&3-(%3"+#=(U#3$'(&3T*0?(+#X(U1$(-&#(
+3_#(1U(B#3%#'(,#*0?(U1$%#=(*0-1(+#X"3;(3%-*T*-G'(&"$-(="$*0?(+#X(-&3-(^3+(
01-(%10+#0+"3;'(-&$#3-#0#=(^*-&(+#X"3;(3,"+#'($*=*%";#=(3,1"-(+#X"3;(
B#$U1$@30%#'(,#*0?(U1$%#=(-1(^3-%&(B1$01?$3B&G'(,#*0?($3B#=9(
I*030%*3;(
J3G(*0%;"=#(,#*0?(@3=#(-1(3%%1"0-(U1$(3;;(#XB#0=*-"$#'(#XB#%-#=(-1(?1(
*0-1(=#,-(U1$(301-&#$(B#$+10'(G1"$(@10#G(,#*0?(%10-$1;;#='($#+-$*%-*10+(
10(@10#G(3T3*;3,;#(-1(B$1T*=#(%3$#(U1$(3(%1@B30*10(30*@3;9(
`=#0-*-GL]#;3-#=(
J3G(*0%;"=#(G1"$(+#X"3;(1$(?#0=#$(*=#0-*-G(,#*0?("0=#$@*0#=(1$(
g"#+-*10#='(&3T*0?(@#=*%3-*10+(&*==#0(1$(=#;*,#$3-#;G(%10U"+#='(,#*0?(
@*+?#0=#$#='(B$#T#0-#=(U$1@(#0?3?*0?(^*-&(1-&#$(Y)Z:(B#1B;#'(30=(
&3T*0?(G1"$(+#X"3;*-G(1$(?#0=#$(=*+%;1+#=(-1(1-&#$(B#1B;#(^*-&1"-(
%10+#0-9(
(
( (
(
:3,;#(P9(]#+B10+#+(-1(3,"+#(,G(%1"0-$G(
(
(
(
( (
(
]#+B10+#(
<"+-$3;*30(N"CD8(
>0*-#=(/*0?=1@(N"CD8(
(
(
(
(
S@1-*103;(<,"+#(
d0%#(1UU'(+-3G#=(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
Y#U-($#;3-*10+&*B(
d0?1*0?(3,"+#(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
:1-3;(
(
W1"?&-(&#;B(U1$(+#;U(
W1"?&-(&#;B($#i(30*@3;(
P(C49748(
Q(CN96N8(
QN(CNQ9658(
665(
(
NP(C7O9MO8(
O(CM9O8(
N(CN9O68(
N(CN9O68(
7N(CN49QN8(
QM(
(
OR(COQ9O78(
O(CO9P48(
.&G+*%3;(<,"+#(
d0%#(1UU'(+-3G#=(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
Y#U-($#;3-*10+&*B(
d0?1*0?(3,"+#(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
:1-3;(
(
W1"?&-(&#;B(U1$(+#;U(
W1"?&-(&#;B($#i(30*@3;(
R(CN9N48(
6M(C459ON8(
MN(C759ON8(
RN(
(
M4(CR697R8(
P(CM9M8(
7(C6M9ON8(
Q(C6N97O8(
P4(CRR9R78(
MN(
(
67(CPO9M68(
4(CM9678(
W#X"3;(<,"+#(
d0%#(1UU'(+-3G#=(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
Y#U-($#;3-*10+&*B(
d0?1*0?(3,"+#(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
:1-3;(
(
W1"?&-(&#;B(U1$(+#;U(
W1"?&-(&#;B($#i(30*@3;(
7(C6O9OR8(
6P(C4N9NQ8(
4O(COO9OR8(
MO(
(
45(CMM9MO8(
6(C49448(
6(C49RP8(
65(C4R9P48(
47(C7695O8(
PN(
(
47(C7695O8(
5(
I*030%*3;(<,"+#(
d0%#(1UU'(+-3G#=(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
Y#U-($#;3-*10+&*B(
d0?1*0?(3,"+#(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
:1-3;(
(
W1"?&-(&#;B(U1$(+#;U(
W1"?&-(&#;B($#i(30*@3;(
6(CP95P8(
4(CR95R8(
P5(CQ59Q68(
PP(
(
6M(C6M9M48(
M(C649648(
5(
P(C649O8(
46(CN79O8(
4M(
(
65(CM69R78(
4(CN9PP8(
`=#0-*-GL]#;3-#=(<,"+#(
d0%#(1UU'(+-3G#=(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
Y#U-($#;3-*10+&*B(
d0?1*0?(3,"+#(*0($#;3-*10+&*B(
:1-3;(
(
W1"?&-(&#;B(U1$(+#;U(
Q(C6O9558(
66(C6N9PP8(
M5(CRR9R78(
R5(
(
4M(CM59558(
Q(C469M48(
Q(C469M48(
4M(CO796M8(
M4(
(
6Q(CMO94M8(
:3,;#(M9(I1$@+(1U(3,"+#(=*UU#$#0-*3-#=(,G(%1"0-$G(30=(+#X"3;(1$*#0-3-*10'(?#0=#$(30=(&3T*0?(#T#$(*=#0-*U*#=(3+(
-$30+?#0=#$(
(
(
(
S@1-*103;(
.&G+*%3;(
W#X"3;(
I*030%*3;(
`=#0-*-GL]#;3-#=(
(
F3-#?1$G(
<>(
>/(
<>(
>/(
<>(
>/(
<>(
>/(
<>(
>/(
W#X"3;(d$*#0-3-*10(
Y#+,*30(
)3G(
Z*+#X"3;(
[#-#$1+#X"3;(
.30+#X"3;(
<+#X"3;(
\"##$(
PN(
4R(
6O(
4(
45(
P(
R(
PP(
65(
4N(
M(
6O(
5(
M(
P5(
6R(
P(
4(
66(
P(
P(
45(
P(
6M(
4(
7(
5(
4(
6N(
N(
M(
6(
N(
4(
M(
6M(
M(
Q(
4(
7(
5(
4(
6R(
N(
4(
6(
P(
4(
6(
N(
4(
N(
6(
P(
5(
4(
45(
66(
7(
6(
6R(
4(
P(
6O(
Q(
6M(
4(
65(
5(
4(
)#0=#$(
I#@3;#(
J3;#((
K10L,*03$G(
R7(
4R(
67(
RR(
6O(
6P(
M6(
6Q(
N(
PN(
R(
M(
4R(
64(
7(
P5(
O(
P(
44(
R(
O(
46(
P(
5(
4Q(
6P(
6N(
4P(
64(
7(
`=#0-*U*#=(3+(
:$30+?#0=#$(
V#+(
K1(
4O(
NO(
4R(
RN(
6O(
OP(
66(
P7(
66(
PM(
65(
4N(
6(
4N(
O(
6Q(
4R(
PM(
45(
P4(
(
(
( (
:3,;#(O9(W-3-*+-*%3;;G(+*?0*U*%30-($#;3-*10+&*B+(,#-^##0(-&#(+%3;#+(30=(&3T*0?(#XB#$*#0%#=(3(U1$@(1U(3,"+#(1$(01-(
(
(
H(W*?0*U*%30-(^*-&(Z10U#$$10*(%1$$#%-*10(
(
(
M"
SD(
t"
p"
d"
(
(
V#+(
K1(
V#+(
K1(
(
(
(
S@1-*103;(<,"+#(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
65O96N(
O596N(
P696M(
4O95O(
QQ9QO(
O695R(
PR9R7(
45976(
Q97O(
66957(
Q96Q(
N94N(
Q94M(
659MQ(
Q95M(
N95M(
49M74(
59NRR(
P9P6O(
O96P5(
956(
9PN7(
9556H(
9556H(
59OO5(
595N6(
59R5R(
59OP6(
.&G+*%3;(<,"+#(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
65P9Q4(
O59RQ(
PP9N6(
4O947(
6559NP(
O5976(
PO947(
459RP(
6M966(
659O4(
Q944(
N9RR(
6O9MM(
6597Q(
Q945(
N9P7(
69O55(
6956O(
69P76(
P975R(
96PO(
9QNN(
9676(
9556H(
5945N(
59556(
596ON(
59OMM(
W#X"3;(<,"+#(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
6579OM(
MN9OR(
P5976(
479OM(
655975(
O6966(
PO97N(
469MO(
669N5(
669RO(
N9QM(
N96R(
649OP(
659O6(
N9MR(
Q95N(
49PQM(
69N7Q(
M94N5(
O9R66(
956(
95R6(
9556H(
9556H(
59OR4(
5945P(
59ON4(
5975O(
I*030%*3;(<,"+#(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
65M9MM(
MQ9R7(
P59MN(
4797O(
656967(
O59NM(
PO9PN(
4697R(
6O96O(
659RO(
N9RN(
659Q4(
6O946(
65974(
Q9Q6(
Q94P(
6965N(
697MM(
49N56(
M9776(
94RQ(
9MO7(
955O(
9556H(
5946O(
5965Q(
59O4R(
59OQ4(
`=#0-*-GL]#;3-#=(<,"+#(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
65M9OO(
MN9RQ(
P69PQ(
4R9M4(
655977(
OP946(
PO9QM(
469PQ(
6P9O6(
N9PR(
Q954(
Q9PN(
6O9O5(
N977(
Q95P(
N9PM(
697RP(
495MQ(
M947N(
O95OP(
957Q(
95M(
9556H(
9556H(
594OQ(
59O47(
59O5M(
59ORR(
<0*@3;(F$"#;-G(d%%"$$#=(
.<W(
Y.W(
JW.WW(
/65(
65R9P5(
O59MO(
P5955(
4Q946(
6569P5(
O5976(
PO96M(
44946(
6696O(
Q9QM(
659O6(
669MP(
(
6O9P6(
65977(
Q965(
N9ON(
69544(
6957M(
P9MRQ(
49PP5(
9P57(
9NM6(
9556H(
9556H(
59P7P(
5954O(
59O44(
59R4(
... Our review of the literature located 37 articles that included prevalence statistics (see Tables 2 and 3). Of those, 20 studies included samples of adult survivors of IPV who reported their exposure to animal cruelty during their relationship with their partner (Ascione 1997;Ascione et al. 2007;Barrett et al. 2018Barrett et al. 2 , 2020Campbell et al. 2021;Collins et al. 2018 3 ;Faver and Cavazos 2007;Faver and Strand 2003;Fitzgerald et al. 2019;Flynn 2000aFlynn , 2000bGallagher et al. 2008;Hartman et al. 2018 3 ;Loring and Bolden-Hines 2004;McDonald et al. 2017 3 ;Newberry 2017;Simmons and Lehmann 2007;Strand and Faver 2005;Tiplady et al. 2018;Volant et al. 2008); four studies included a community sample and specifically examined the co-occurring prevalence of IPV and animal cruelty (Fielding and Plumridge 2010;Fitzgerald et al. 2022;Riggs et al. 2021;Volant et al. 2008). Thirteen studies included prevalence rates of exposure to IPV and animal cruelty during childhood Volant et al. 2008). ...
... Further, among adult survivors of IPV, 7% to 11.1% reported that they had perpetrated animal abuse (Ascione 1997;Ascione et al. 1997). Rates of IPV and animal cruelty by a partner tended to be lower in studies that included a community sample (i.e., a non-IPV specific sample; Fielding and Plumridge 2010;Fitzgerald et al. 2022;Riggs et al. 2021;Volant et al. 2008). For example, Volant et al. (2008) compared rates of animal cruelty in a sample recruited from domestic violence services and rates in a community sample. ...
... Several studies also compared relations between IPV and animal cruelty between different groups (Ascione et al. 2007;Barrett et al. 2020 2 ;Campbell et al. 2021;Febres et al. 2012;Fitzgerald et al. 2022;Haden et al. 2018;Riggs et al. 2021;Simmons and Lehmann 2007). Ascione et al. (2007) examined the likelihood of animal cruelty by women's abusive partners based on whether the women were exposed to violence or not. ...
Article
Full-text available
There is some evidence that family violence (intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder abuse) co-occurs with animal cruelty (i.e., threats to and/or actual harm of an animal), which is often referred to as “the link.” The aim of this scoping review was to systematically search the literature to determine the extent of empirical evidence that supports the co-occurrence of family violence and animal cruelty and that provides prevalence rates of the co-occurrence. We searched eight electronic databases (e.g., Academic Search Complete, PsycArticles, PubMed) for peer-reviewed articles published until September 2021. Articles were eligible for inclusion if they were written in English and included the empirical study of at least one form of family violence and animal cruelty. We identified 61 articles for inclusion. The majority of articles (n=48) focused on co-occurring IPV and animal cruelty and 20 articles examined child maltreatment and animal cruelty. No articles examining elder abuse and animal cruelty were found. Prevalence rates of “the link” ranged from <1% to >80%. Findings regarding the association between family violence and animal cruelty varied. Some studies found that family violence was significantly associated with animal cruelty (or vice versa), but there was also evidence that the association was not statistically significant. Associations between family violence and animal cruelty were not significant in most studies that adjusted for sociodemographic factors. This suggests that sociodemographic factors (e.g., exposure to multiple forms of violence, income) may explain the co-occurrence of family violence and animal cruelty. Based on the results of our scoping review, we recommend that caution should be taken regarding assertions of “the link” without further research to better understand the co-occurrence of family violence and animal cruelty and the factors and mechanisms that influence their co-occurrence.
... Five additional studies were identified by handsearching and reviewing the reference lists of included studies (see Fig. 1). The resulting 35 articles, which reflected 30 individual studies for analysis, were included in this review [articles from the same study included Gallagher et al., 2008 andAllen et al., 2006;Barrett et al., 2020and Fitzgerald et al., 2019Riggs et al., 2018 andTaylor et al., 2019;andTiplady et al., 2015 andTiplady et al., 2018]. ...
... Five studies analysed and reported qualitative findings (Collins et al., 2018;Flynn, 2000a;Hardesty et al., 2013;Newberry, 2017;Tiplady et al., 2018). One study reported quantitative (Riggs et al., 2018) and qualitative (Taylor et al., 2019) findings in two separate papers. ...
... The remaining two studies included another two studies (Fielding & Plumridge, 2010;Gupta, 2008) had male and female college students as participants. For Riggs et al. (2018), participants did not need to be living with animal companions nor did they need to have experienced IPV. Three American studies reported the analyses of criminal investigations of AA incidents carried out by the Animal Protection Division (Monsalve et al., 2018;n = 118), police reports (Richard & Reese, 2019;n = 181), and the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI (Levitt et al., 2016;n = 150). ...
Article
This systematic review focused on animal cruelty in abusive adult intimate partner relationships with a specific focus on the prevalence, motivations, and impact of animal abuse on victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the pets involved. Peer-reviewed research articles were sourced from online databases PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus and PsycInfo in July 2020. Overall, 427 records were retrieved, of which 35 articles from 30 studies were included in this review. Relevant data were extracted, with results presented as a narrative summary. The findings showed that the prevalence of animal abuse is high in households with intimate partner violence (range: 21%–89%) and there is a significant relationship between intimate partner violence and animal abuse. Both are often perpetrated concurrently, with animal abuse used as a mechanism to control the partner and facilitate intimate partner violence. Animal abuse affected a victim's decision to leave the abusive relationship and seek support and had an ongoing psychological impact on both animal and human victims. The findings have practical implications for organizations, professionals and researchers working in the field of intimate partner violence and animal abuse.
... Threats to harm companion animals are common to intimidate, induce fear and submission in DA victims, and are used as tools for the exertion of power and control, especially when victims are highly attached to that animal (Allen et al., 2006;Arkow, 2014). Many DA victims (rates vary but are as high as 71%) report that their abuser has hurt or has killed their companion animal (Flynn, 2000a;Riggs et al., 2018). Witnessing AC can cause significant distress for victims, increasing risk for long-term psychological harm, and associations between witnessing AC and future engagement in AC behaviour, i.e. 'the link', has also been found (Bright et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Companion animals can both protect against, and increase risk for, coercive control and abuse, yet have not been considered in existing UK COVID-19 reports of domestic abuse (DA). This study aimed to explore the nature and frequency of animal-related calls received by UK domestic abuse helpline (DAH) staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, examine any lockdown-related changes, identify potential commonalities across helpline organisations, and explore perspectives about ongoing animal-related issues in the context of DA. Semi-structured virtual interviews were conducted with 11 DAH staff workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were subjected to thematic analysis. The analysis revealed four overarching themes. Theme (1) lockdown-related changes in the frequency and nature of animal-related calls received. Theme (2) animals as tools for abuse during lockdown, with subthemes (a) manipulating the family-animal bond, and (b) fears over animal safety. Theme (3) animals as barriers to refuge during lockdown, with subthemes, (a) lack of animal-friendly accommodation, (b) lack of social support systems, and (c) animals as coping mechanisms. Theme (4) helpline staffs’ awareness of and links to animal-friendly accommodation and fostering services. The findings can inform decision making regarding appropriate long-term support needs for multi-species families with complex needs, both during and post-pandemic.
... Um crescente número de pesquisas indica que as pessoas que cometem atos de crueldade contra os animais raramente param por aí. Isto porque há relatos de que assassinos e pessoas que abusam de seus cônjuges ou filhos, no passado costumavam ferir animais, o que leva à crença de que pessoas que abusam de animais também podem ser perigosas para as pessoas (ONYSKIW, 2007;GODSEY;ROBINSON, 2014;RIGGS et al., 2021). Conhecidas as ideias que fundamentam a Teoria de Link, passa-se a seguir a uma breve discussão sobre a violência urbana e suas causas. ...
Article
Full-text available
O presente artigo objetiva compreender como a intervenção/prevenção de comportamentos violentos contra animais pode refletir na prevenção de episódios de violência doméstica e contra as pessoas no geral, tendo em vista o desenvolvimento de competências como empatia, respeito e atitudes pró sociais. Para tanto, discute o crescente aumento de crimes violentos no Brasil e a necessidade de buscar formas para mitigar essa violência, com base na Teoria de Link e suas contribuições que esta Teoria pode trazer para a prevenção e combate a crimes violentos contra seres humanos e animais. Assim, o problema norteador desta pesquisa é: Como a Teoria de Link explica a relação entre a violência contra animais e a violência contra as pessoas? Como metodologia é empregada a pesquisa teórico-dogmática, do método dedutivo com base em uma revisão de literatura em doutrinas, legislações pertinentes e jurisprudência visando encontrar um proposito de mitigar ou minorar o problema dos maus tratos contra animais e seres humanos. Ao final do estudo conclui-se que conhecer os métodos, motivos e estado de espírito das pessoas que cometem atos de crueldade contra os animais, pode ajudar a fornecer aos tribunais e aos profissionais de saúde mental ferramentas adicionais para a avaliação da importância desses crimes e dos riscos potenciais que os infratores podem representar para outros animais e para a sociedade como um todo.
... This could be due, at least in part, to the socialization of boys which often emphasizes dominance and aggression [106]. This notion is supported by Riggs et al. [107], who found a statistically significant relationship between the perpetration of acts of animal cruelty and gender (p < 0.001) which suggests that men were 24% more likely to mistreat animals and perform aggressive acts. ...
Article
Full-text available
For years now, the importance of animal cruelty has been gaining recognition in the industrialized cities of the West. Animal cruelty encompasses any act that causes a non-human animal unnecessary pain or suffering, including negligence, abandonment, abuse, torture, bestiality, and even theriocide. This represents a red flag for society as a whole because people who commit such acts can escalate violence and direct it to other individuals. Animal cruelty and interpersonal violence—as well as other socially undesirable conduct such as bullying, antisocial personality disorder, rape, and serial murder—are closely related, so timely diagnoses of either one can help prevent acts of aggression. It is necessary, therefore, to analyze and try to understand whether there are early indicators that may help identify potentially violent individuals. It is well known that kids from homes with actual violence in their homes show a high tendency to reproduce such behaviors with both animals and other people. In conclusion, much research and rethinking of the importance of the veterinarian in detecting animal abuse and cruelty is needed to help detect and prevent cases of interpersonal violence that may arise over time.
... Perpetration of animal cruelty may often be an indicator of other forms of family violence occurring in the home (Riggs et al. 2021;Bright et al. 2018;DeGue and DiLillo 2009). A growing wealth of academic literature continues to link child maltreatment, Soc. ...
Article
Full-text available
The well-being of children and non-human animals (subsequently referred to as animals) is often intertwined. Communities are unlikely to be able to best protect humans from abuse and harm unless they are working to ensure the safety of animals who reside there as well. This study is the first to utilize U.S. animal control report data and narratives to explore how children are involved in cases of animal cruelty. Children engage in abusive acts toward animals, alone, or along with peers and/or adults. Children were found to inflict abuse most often with their hands or feet as opposed to with a weapon or other object. A total of 85% of animal cruelty perpetrated by children was toward a dog or cat. Key differences between how children are involved in acts of cruelty to companion animals compared with acts involving wild animals are described and warrant further study. The cases of animal abuse or neglect reported by children were among the most severe in the study, and often involved an adult perpetrator known to the child. Neighbors rarely report child abuse or intimate partner violence in the United States, but 89% of the animal cruelty cases involving children in this study were reported by a neighbor or passerby. Although children involved in reports as a perpetrator or reporter were most often in early adolescence, children involved in cross-reports between child welfare and animal control were often under the age of 5. Improved cross-reporting and stronger partnerships between human and animal welfare agencies may provide opportunity for earlier intervention and is likely to better many human and animal lives.
... But is it such a stretch to claim personhood for living animals given corporations have a long history of being granted personhood, and they are entirely devoid of sentience?. . . Unlike animals, who can experience emotions, conscious thought and most importantly can suffer bodily pain, corporations are abstracted entities deliberately extracted from their 'owners' for legal purposes (Riggs et al., 2021b). ...
Article
Full-text available
Disasters do not just affect humans. And humans do not only live with, care for or interact with other humans. In this conceptual article, we explain how animals are relevant to green and disaster social work. Power, oppression and politics are our themes. We start the discussion by defining disasters and providing examples of how three categories of animals are affected by disasters, including in the current COVID-19 pandemic. They are: companion animals (pets), farmed animals (livestock) and free-living animals (wildlife), all of whom we classify as oppressed populations. Intersectional feminist, de-colonising and green social work ideas are discussed in relation to disaster social work. We argue that social work needs to include nonhuman animals in its consideration of person-in-environment, and offer an expanded version of feminist intersectionality inclusive of species as a way forward.
Article
This study assesses the relationship between threatened/enacted violence against companion animals, intimate partner violence (IPV), fear of lethal violence, and help-seeking in a community sample of IPV survivors in Canada (n = 630). After controlling for socio-demographic covariates, IPV survivors who report animal maltreatment by their partner were significantly more likely to fear for their lives and to seek help from multiple sources of support than survivors who did not report animal maltreatment, with the relationship between animal abuse and help-seeking mediated by survivors’ fear of lethal IPV. Implications for the provision of effective services and supports to this high-risk population of IPV survivors are discussed.
Preprint
Full-text available
Companion animals can both protect against, and increase risk for, coercive control and abuse, yet have not been considered in existing UK COVID-19 reports of domestic abuse. This study aimed to explore the nature and frequency of animal-related calls received by UK domestic abuse helpline staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, examine any lockdown-related changes, identify potential commonalities across helpline organisations, and explore perspectives about ongoing animal-related issues in the context of domestic abuse. Semi-structured virtual interviews were conducted with 11 domestic abuse helpline staff workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were subjected to thematic analysis. The analysis revealed four overarching themes. Theme 1) Lockdown-related changes in the frequency and nature of animal-related calls received. Theme 2) Animals as tools for abuse during lockdown, with subthemes a) Manipulating the family-animal bond, and b) Fears over animal safety. Theme 3) Animals as barriers to refuge during lockdown, with subthemes, a) Lack of animal-friendly accommodation, b) Lack of social support systems, and c) Animals as coping mechanisms. Theme 4) Helpline staffs’ awareness of and links to animal friendly accommodation and fostering services. The findings can inform decision making regarding appropriate long-term support needs for multi-species families with complex needs, both during and post-pandemic.
Chapter
Queer Entanglements provides the first comprehensive account of the intersections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans, and non-binary people's lives with the lives of animals. Exploring diverse topics such as domestic violence, grief following the loss of an animal, veganism, cruelty-free makeup products, Pride events, and community activism, the book offers a theoretical and empirical basis for understanding the contexts that bring together human and animal lives. By using real-world examples, it provides a lively and engaging view of what it means to think about the connections between animal and human lives, even when human experiences operate at the expense of animal wellbeing. This critical, intersectional, and interdisciplinary perspective on human-animal relations will be of interest to scholars and students in human-animal studies, psychology, sociology, social work, and cultural and gender studies.
Article
Full-text available
A significant body of research in the field of human-animal studies has focused on animals who live alongside humans within the home, with such animals often considered family members. To date, however, this research has focused almost exclusively on the experiences of heterosexual cisgender people, overlooking other diverse genders and/or sexualities. This paper seeks to address this gap by reporting on findings from a study of 503 people living in Australia or the United Kingdom. Specifically, the research sought to explore links between psychological distress, social support, family violence, and views about animal companions. Notable amongst the findings was an interaction between having experienced familial violence and living with an animal companion, and the impact of both on psychological distress and social support. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the findings for better understanding the lives of people of diverse genders and/or sexualities.
Article
Full-text available
The current study examined the knowledge and experience of animal welfare and human service providers in urban and rural communities of Saskatchewan, Canada. Nine exploratory qualitative interviews were conducted to gather a more in-depth understanding of whether the concern for animal care and safekeeping impacts the decision to leave situations of intimate partner violence. The interviews were semistructured and guided by four questions, which were designed, reviewed, and revised based on feedback from a community-based research team. Thematic analysis highlighted important findings, allowing for the generation of suggestions for improvement of current supports and services offered. The current study findings suggest that concern for animal care and safekeeping creates significant barriers regarding the decision to leave situations of intimate partner violence and abuse, warranting further research to inform support services and resources within a Canadian context.
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the intersection of intimate partner violence (IPV) and animal cruelty in an ethnically diverse sample of 103 pet-owning IPV survivors recruited from community-based domestic violence programs. Template analysis revealed five themes: (a) Animal Maltreatment by Partner as a Tactic of Coercive Power and Control, (b) Animal Maltreatment by Partner as Discipline or Punishment of Pet, (c) Animal Maltreatment by Children, (d) Emotional and Psychological Impact of Animal Maltreatment Exposure, and (e) Pets as an Obstacle to Effective Safety Planning. Results demonstrate the potential impact of animal maltreatment exposure on women and child IPV survivors' health and safety.
Article
Full-text available
Children living in households where intimate partner violence (IPV) is present are at increased risk of being exposed to concomitant maltreatment of companion animals. Recent research suggests that childhood exposure to maltreatment of companion animals is associated with compromised socioemotional well-being in childhood and adulthood. To date, there is a dearth of qualitative research examining how children experience animal maltreatment in the context of IPV. The current qualitative study explored the following research question in an ethnically diverse sample of IPV survivors: How do maternal caregivers convey the ways in which their children experience animal maltreatment in IPV-affected households? Sixty-five women with at least one child (age 7-12 years) were recruited from domestic violence agencies and described their child(ren)’s experiences of animal maltreatment in the home. Template analysis was used to analyze interview data (KALPHA = .90). Three themes emerged related to children’s experiences of animal maltreatment: (a) direct exposure to animal maltreatment and related threats, (b) emotional and behavioral responses to animal maltreatment exposure, and (c) animal maltreatment as coercive control of the child. Results suggest that children’s exposure to animal maltreatment is multifaceted and may exacerbate children’s risk of negative psychosocial outcomes in the context of co-occurring IPV. Intervention programs designed to assist children exposed to IPV should consider the extent of children’s awareness of the abuse of their pets and their strong and deleterious reactions to it.
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has found that domestic violence (DV) victims who seek refuge in DV shelters often report the abuse of companion animals as a form of psychological control. However, these studies have mainly involved the use of interviews and questionnaires which restrict the quality and depth of data collected (e.g. these methods increase the probability that victims will withhold information due to embarrassment or ethical constraints). The current study utilized a novel method previously overlooked in the literature on companion animal abuse in an attempt to overcome these problems; domestic violence victims' stories of companion animal abuse were obtained from online forums where victims voluntarily shared their experiences. Seventy-four stories were analyzed using thematic analysis and four key themes were identified: The Victim-Companion Animal Bond; Companion Animals Used to Control Victims; Victims' Perceptions of Abusers' Behavior; and Support for Victims and Companion Animals. A number of DV victims reported that companion animals were one of their main sources of support, and many chose to stay in an abusive relationship because DV shelters did not have the facilities to house their pets. Findings have policy implications for police, DV shelters, child protection organizations, and animal welfare organizations.
Article
Reviews evidence for the significance of childhood cruelty to animals as a predictor of later violence toward humans. Moves are underway in the United States (US) and Britain to encourage communication and cross-fertilisation between animal welfare and child protection and crime prevention services. Literature on healthy versus deviant child-pet interactions is reviewed, with particular regard to the prediction of later violence. Assessment and definitional issues are addressed. The discussion culminates with a summary of substantive findings and the identification of several research designs that are needed to clarify the potential of early identification and remediation of child cruelty to animals as a mental health promotion and violence prevention strategy.
Article
Although there is a growing body of literature documenting the co-occurrence of animal abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV), only a few studies have examined the relationship between animal maltreatment, types of IPV, and abuse severity. The results of those studies have been inconclusive and in some cases even contradictory. The current study contributes new findings to that specific segment of the literature and sheds some light on the inconsistent findings in previous studies. Data were gathered from 86 abused women receiving services from domestic violence shelters across Canada via a structured survey about pet abuse and the level and types of IPV perpetrated by abusive partners. Type and severity of IPV was measured using subscales of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) and the Checklist of Controlling Behaviors (CCB). Animal maltreatment was measured using the Partner’s Treatment of Animals Scale (PTAS). Participants were divided into three groups: women who did not have pets during their abusive relationship (n = 31), women who had pets and reported little or no animal maltreatment (n = 21), and women who had pets and reported frequent or severe animal maltreatment (n = 34). Examining within-group variations in experiences of IPV and pet abuse using a series of one-way between-groups ANOVA tests, this study provides evidence to support the conclusion that women who report that their partner mistreated their pets are themselves at significantly greater risk of more frequent and severe forms of IPV, most specifically psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. The findings point to the urgency of better understanding and mitigating the unique barriers to leaving an abusive relationship faced by women with companion animals.
Article
Although the role of companion animals within the dynamic of domestic violence (DV) is increasingly recognized, the overlap of animal harm and insurance discrimination for victims/survivors of DV has not been considered. Prompted by a case study presented in a National Link Coalition LINK-Letter, this research note examines “Pet Insurance” policies available in Australia and whether nonaccidental injury caused by an intimate partner would be covered. We discuss the implications of exclusion criteria for victims/survivors of DV, shelters providing places for animals within a DV dynamic, and, more broadly, for cross- or mandatory-reporting (of animal harm) initiatives.
Book
This book provides the first detailed discussion of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships, offering a unique comparison between this and domestic violence and abuse experienced by heterosexual women and men. It examines how experiences of domestic violence and abuse may be shaped by gender, sexuality and age, including whether and how victims/survivors seek help, and asks, what’s love got to do with it? A pioneering methodology, using both quantitative and qualitative research, provides a reliable and valid approach that challenges the heteronormative model in domestic violence research, policy and practice. The authors develops a new framework of analysis - practices of love - to explore empirical data. Outlining the implications of the research for practice and service development, the book will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners in the field of domestic violence, especially those who provide services for sexual minorities, as well as students and academics interested in issues of domestic and interpersonal violence.