Domestic Abuse and Pet Cruelty
Cruelty to pets is often a means of control utilised by perpetrators of domestic abuse. Not only does the act itself cause suffering to the victim, but the threat of future harm can also prevent a victim from leaving their abusive home.
Currently, there is no legislation in England and Wales that provides protection for the companion animals of those experiencing domestic abuse.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 provided an opportunity to make the much overdue change to the lack of protection afforded to companion animals of victims of domestic abuse, however, it failed to do so.
Without this protection, victims of domestic violence will continue be less likely to leave their violent homes out of concern for the safety of their companion animals. The lack of resources and protection for victims with pets makes the threats of the abuser to harm the pets all the more effective, locking victims and their companion animals in a cycle of abuse.