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What is the Link?

Research and human experience indicate that violence begets violence.


Domestic violence (also referred to as intimate partner violence), animal abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse, tend to co-occur in families. When one form of violence is present, the others are often present as well. This cycle perpetuates itself: when children witness the abuse of humans or animals, they are more likely to become violent or abusive themselves. 

Child abuse

Domestic violence



elder abuse

"In domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse cases, actual or threatened animal abuse can be a way for the abuser to silence victims about the incident or to prevent them from leaving a violent relationship.


Abusers kill, hurt or threaten animals to exert power over the human victims and to show them what could happen to them. Killing a family pet can eliminate a source of comfort and support for the human victim. Sometimes the victims themselves abuse animals, either to protect the animal from worse harm or to displace their hostility towards their abuser."


For so many reasons, it is no longer acceptable to respond to animal abuse with statements such as "It's just an animal!" or "Boys will be boys!" Social workers, police, and other "front-line" workers are now realizing that animal abuse is a reliable predictor of other forms of violence. In order to truly end the cycle of family violence, animal abuse must be taken seriously.

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Additional resources
and research on
the Link

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Get to know SafePet, our fostering service for survivors of domestic abuse and their pets

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Do you work in social or animal services? Hire us to speak at your organization

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