MP Response to new report: Up to 3 in 5 domestic violence victims report animal abuse

MEDIA STATEMENT: 27 AUGUST 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst is calling for urgent Government action following a report released by Women’s Safety NSW today, revealing up to three in five victims of domestic and family violence report animal abuse after a domestic violence incident.

Please see quotes below from Emma Hurst MLC:

“This report clearly highlights that urgent legislative reform is needed to protect animal and human victims of domestic violence.

“Up to three in five victims report animal abuse also occurred as part of an act of domestic violence. This isis upsetting but not surprising, especially given the plethora of research confirming a link between domes- tic violence and animal abuse. It’s time to take animal cruelty seriously.

“In domestic and family violence situations, abusers often manipulate and control others through threatened or actual violence against beloved companion animals. This report makes this link horrifyingly clear, with threats to harm animals reported by 94 percent of specialists as the most common form of abuse.

“This latest data is higher than figures seen in previous Australian studies suggesting there is still a perva- sive nature of violence in Australia. It is clear that not enough is being done to recognise and address the link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

“Violence does not discriminate. If we fail to take seriously violent acts towards animals, we will never over- come violence in other areas of our society.

“The community knows our laws are failing. 92 percent of respondents reported believing that agencies in- cluding the Police and RSPCA do not have the appropriate powers to adequately deal with animal abuse in the context of domestic and family violence.

“I will continue to work on behalf of survivors and domestic violence specialists, who are calling for legisla- tive changes allowing victims to take custody of their companion animals, include animals on ADVOs, and laws that recognise the link between animal and human violence.

“We urgently need more Government funding so that emergency accommodation can also house compan- ion animals, tougher penalties to deter animal abuse, and a revision of our tenancy laws to ensure afford- able and secure rental accommodation is accessible for families to stay together with animals long-term.

“The Animal Justice Party is working towards these reforms that will protect both human and non-human victims of violence.

 

Key Data:

• Up to three in five victims of domestic and family violence report animal abuse after a domestic violence police incident.

  • Threats to harm animals by those committing domestic violence was reported by 94% of specialists as the most common form of abuse.

  • 87.5%of respondents believed the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act (NSW) should be amended to more explicitly acknowledge harm to animals as grounds for seeking an Apprehended Do- mestic Violence Order (ADVO).

  • 94% of respondents agreed the mandatory order on ADVOs should also include animals who are con- nected with the person so that they are automatically protected.

  • 92% of respondents believed enforcing and investigating agencies, including Police and the RSPCA do not have the appropriate scope of power when dealing with animal abuse to be able to account for do- mestic and family violence contexts.

 

WOMEN’S SAFETY NSW REPORT AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns, 0401 991 792