Bethanie Poe

Serving Domestic Violence Survivors with Pets

A Talk by Dr. Bethanie Poe (Middle Tennessee HABIT Coordinator, University of Tennessee, HABIT Program)

About this Talk

Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will identify one potential barrier for getting pet-related services to DV survivors. 2. Participants will identify at least one question to ask a DV survivor about their pets. 2. Participants will identify ways to make pet related services for DV survivors a universal standard of service.

Body of Abstract Research on pets and domestic violence has been conducted as early as the 1990s. Studies routinely have found that survivors report that, during their abusive relationships, their pets were threatened, harmed, or killed. Additionally, a proportion of those survivors also indicate that leaving their abuser was delayed due to concerns related to their animal(s). (Ascione 1998; Flynn, 2000a; Flynn 2000b; Faver & Strand, 2003; Strand & Faver, 2005 Simmons and Lehmann, 2007). For victims in poverty, pet-related issues may pose even more of a challenge. More attention has been brought to this issue with development of programs such as Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T) and the Red Rover grant program, and the passing of the Pets and Women’s Safety Act. However, the availability of assistance for survivors with pets continues to vary greatly depending on geographic location. In this discussion, participants will discuss potential barriers for getting services to victims, how to make asking survivors about pets the norm among domestic violence service providers, and how to make serves for pet owning domestic violence survivors a universal standard of service.

Ascione, F.R. (1998).Battered women's reports of their partners' and their children's cruelty to animals. Journal of Emotional Abuse. 1(1), Faver, C.A. & Strand, E.B. (2003). To leave or to stay? Battered women’s concern for vulnerable pets. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(12), 1367-1377. Flynn, C. P. (2000). Women’s best friend: Pet abuse and the role of companion animals in the lives of battered women. Violence Against Women, 6(2),162-177. Flynn, C. P. (2000b). Battered women and their animal companions: Symbolic interaction between human and non-human animals. Society and Animals, 8(2), 99-127. Phillips, A. (2018) Sheltering Animals and Families Together. Accessed 20 April 2020. Red Rover. Accessed 20 April 2020. Simmons, C.A. & Lehmann, P. (2007). Exploring the link between pet abuse and controlling behaviors in violent relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(9), 1211-1222. Strand, E. B., & Faver, C. A. (2005). Battered women’s concern for their pets: A closer look. Journal of Family Social Work, 9(4), 39-58 Wuest, P. (2019, Jan 4).The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Is Signed Into Law. Accessed on 20 April 2020.

October 10, 2020, 03:00 PM

03:00 PM - 04:00 PM

About The Speakers

Bethanie Poe

Dr. Bethanie Poe

Middle Tennessee HABIT Coordinator, University of Tennessee, HABIT Program