MEDIA RELEASE: 4th MARCH 2020
MP JOINS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RALLY DEMANDING URGENT ACTION FOR HUMAN AND ANIMAL VICTIMS OF ABUSE
Domestic violence protest Rally4Hannah will be held in Civic Park, Newcastle on Wednesday March 4 from 6pm.
Animal Justice Party Upper House MP Emma Hurst will be speaking of both human and animal victims of domestic violence this Wednesday, following the death of yet another Australian woman and her children at the hands of an abusive partner.
“Nine women have died at the hands of their abuser this year. That is nine too many,” said Ms Hurst.
“There’s a plethora of research confirming a link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Many people who have been violent to animals are later violent towards a human, so we need to take issues of animal abuse much more seriously in this state if we hope to ever overcome domestic violence.
“Research shows that up to 70 percent of domestic and family victims report abuse of their companion animal, and many victims delay seeking refuge to provide safety to an animal.
“Perpetrators often use animals as tools to hurt and traumatise human victims of domestic violence. I have personally heard stories of abusers drowning family dogs in the pool and choking rabbits to death with kitchen utensils,” said Ms Hurst.
Ms Hurst recently held a roundtable into the link between animal abuse and domestic violence in NSW Parliament. Together with domestic violence survivors, advocacy workers, policy experts, NSW police and the RSPCA, Ms Hurst is developing a suite of legislative changes needed to better support human victims and their companion animals.
“It has been made clear to me that human and animal victims remain at extreme risk under our current laws,” continued Ms Hurst.
“Even if victims of domestic violence can leave with their animals they are not safe. Shelters and refuges often do not house companion animals, and it is difficult to secure rental accommodation when fleeing with an animal.
“We need legislative changes to allow victims to take custody of their companion animals, include animals on ADVOs, and ensure all rental accommodation becomes companion animal friendly.
“I will be also fighting for changes to our legislation that include ensuring animal abuse is explicitly listed as a domestic violence offence, and abusers are unable to pass a working with children or disability services check.
“It is time Australia recognised that animals are domestic violence victims in their own right. Only when we address all facets of abuse will we make real steps toward ending Australia’s domestic violence epidemic,” said Ms Hurst.
MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792