There are different types of abuse child, elder, domestic and animal abuse. Animal abuse a risk of child abuse, they may predict future violence, and it also could be used to threaten the victims. No matter which kind of abuse it is it is violence and unacceptable. Animal Abuse is more prevalent in homes that experience child abuse and domestic violence. Animals are like part of the family and they really help children with social support, self esteem, and help with promoting compassion, kindness, and nurturance.
That being said with animals being part of the family, they also experience the horrible violence that is happening in the home. What I found really interesting was that a child in America is more likely to grow up with a pet than with a father that grows up in the home also that they are more likely to grow up with a pet than another sibling. 76% of animal cruelty in the home occurs in front of children.
It is important to recognize the companionship of the pets living in the home. It could really be beneficial in helping the family cope by using the ecological perspective or even the strengths perspective. A 2009 study showed that nearly half of the people individuals who were surveyed said that they experienced one form of family violence during childhood. Individuals who witnessed animal cruelty were 8.14 times more likely to be perpetrators. Witnessing animal cruelty was the biggest predictor of later violence by the witness. Animal abuse was also associated with higher rates of child neglect.
Another thing I found really interesting was that 22.8% of shelter women delayed leaving a violent home due to the concern of what would happen to the pet. Batters who also abuse their pets are both more controlling and use more dangerous forms of violence (Sexual violence, marital rape, emotional violence, and stalking) than batters who do not. To keep families and pets safe make sure that when making an assessment, take the pets into consideration and report any animal abuse or neglect because they are part of the family too. Keep in mind that we should make efforts to keeping the child and pet together because the pet can be a comfort and therapeutic. A resource to help keep families and pets safe is a shelter called Sheltering Animals and Families Together. Animal abuse is a human safety issue. I found this webinar very interesting and never actually realized how big of an impact a pet could play in abuse and the after effects.