Helping Families And Pets Find Safety During DV Awareness Month
All too often, domestic violence victims stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to abuse if they leave and cannot take their pets with them. RedRover, a national nonprofit animal welfare organization, is raising awareness about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and beyond.
RedRover works tirelessly to connect pet-friendly resources to domestic violence survivors through its RedRover Relief domestic violence assistance initiatives. RedRover Relief Safe Escape grants pay for temporary boarding and/or veterinary care to enable a domestic violence survivor to move pets to safety so that no family member is left behind. RedRover Relief Safe Housing grants pay for on-site or off-site space to house pets at domestic violence shelters or other boarding spaces.
Because research has shown that salon professionals are the people most likely to be told about abusive relationships, California and Illinois have passed laws requiring beauty school students to complete a domestic violence awareness course. Now RedRover offers a wallet-sized card that salon professionals can give to their clients when they suspect a pet is being used as a manipulative tool in the abuse or when a client may delay leaving an abuser because of their pets. The card directs people to RedRover’s Safe Place for Pets website, where they can find pet-friendly resources in their area. A special edition #PetsAreFamily domestic violence awareness T-shirt is available for purchase to help spread the word that including pets in escape plans saves lives. All proceeds from the T-shirt support RedRover’s domestic violence assistance initiatives.
RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth said, “We hope that these cards will empower more people to escape an abusive environment, knowing that they don’t have to leave their pet behind. No one should ever have to choose between safety and family.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. As many as 48 percent of domestic violence victims don’t leave their abusive situations because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave.
Since helping its first victim of domestic violence with a RedRover Relief Safe Escape grant in 2007, RedRover has awarded 606 grants to help 1,080 people with 23,323 nights of boarding for their pets. Since the inception of the Safe Housing program in 2012, 73 grants have been awarded to domestic violence shelters for a total of $477,563.77. Currently in the United States there are 172 domestic violence shelters that house pets, of which RedRover has funded 61.
Visit redrover.org/dvam to order the limited edition T-shirt and/or resource cards.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.