The Human-Animal Bond Between Domestically Abused Women and Their Companion Animals
California State University, San Marcos
Department of Sociology
Dr. Alicia Gonzales
California Sociological Association
November 12, 2010
What is my study exploring?:
Do companion animals/pets affect domestically abused women’s decision making?
Do domestically abused women delay seeking services for fear their pets will be harmed/killed?
CHARACTERISTICS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic Violence Stats
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence
Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
Why it Matters:
71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
13% of intentional animal abuse cases involve domestic violence.
Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.
What’s Being Done & needs to Continue
In many communities, human services, animal services and law enforcement agencies are sharing resources and expertise to address violence.
Professionals are beginning to engage in cross-training and cross-reporting through inter-agency partnerships.
Humane societies are also teaming with domestic violence shelters to provide emergency shelter for pets of domestic violence victims.
In addition, some states have strengthened their animal-cruelty legislation and taken other measures to address the human-animal bond.
Victims of Domestic Violence: Women, Men, Pets, Children, Gay, Young, Old, Straight, Lesbian, It Can Be Anyone