Pets will no longer be silent victims of family violence, with the Victorian Government’s announcement today that $1.3 million in funding is included in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to support victim survivors and their pets.
RSPCA Victoria welcomes the announcement of $1.3 million allocated in the Budget to help people fleeing family violence keep their pets safe by linking refuge and accommodation services with vets, animal shelters and boarding facilities, and to provide financial assistance to help victims access basic pet care items such as kennels and cat baskets.
RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker, says the increased funding recognises the strong link between family violence and animal cruelty, along with the need to support people fleeing violence to keep and care for their pets.
“Pets bring great companionship and comfort – they truly are part of the family and essential that we treat them as such when managing family violence situations,” says Dr Walker.
“Numerous studies show that in households experiencing domestic and family violence, where there is a pet present, there is also a high probability of animal abuse. Not only are animals in these households at risk of experiencing abuse, but we also know that many victims of family violence will delay or avoid leaving unsafe situations for fear of leaving their pets behind.
“Fearing for the welfare of pets or being separated from them when fleeing family violence situations can be an incredibly traumatic experience. For victims, knowing that their animals are safe is one less stressor for them to deal with when seeking refuge for themselves or their children.
“This funding will help bridge the gap between animal and human support services, giving victims of family violence an avenue to both protect themselves and their pets from abuse and by leaving their situation knowing their pet will be well cared for.”
In the 2019-20 financial year, RSPCA Victoria provided emergency boarding for 148 animals, including those belonging to people affected by family violence.
As a result of the Victorian Government’s announcement of funding to support people and pets in family violence situations, RSPCA Victoria looks forward to working more closely with refuge, support and accommodation organisations to provide support to pets and people impacted by family violence.