Protection for pets

Libby has a dog and two kids. They live at home with Libby’s partner Fred. Fred is abusive. He’s hit Libby many times and is emotionally abusive. Libby’s had enough and wants to get out. But she doesn’t know where to go. She knows she can find places of support for her and the kids but she’s worried about leaving her dog.

This is an all too familiar story for many women leaving domestic violence relationships. However, with the new law proposed in NSW parliament, women escaping domestic violence will have greater protections for their pets under proposed ADVO reforms.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman says that animals are often used as an instrument of coercive control, “Perpetrators use animals to intimidate, retaliate against, and manipulate victims during the relationship and after separation, as punishment for leaving.”

He also states that animal abuse can also delay victims leaving domestic violent relationships for fear of the possible abuse that may occur to their animal companions.

The reforms will change the definition of ‘intimidation’ to indicate explicitly that harm to or harm threatened to animals is a form of intimidation.

Refuges and animal shelters can now have access to the Pets and Animal Welfare Support (PAWS) Grants Program, “These funds will enable refuges to become pet-friendly and to enhance the capacity of animal welfare services to provide temporary foster care for animals.”

We at Bonnie’s welcome these proposed changes and look forward to being able to offer greater protection to women with pets.

Written by Celine, Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

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