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Pets safe from domestic violence

pencil Posted 15th April

Pets of women and children leaving domestic violence situations can now stay with their families at Galbaan House crisis accommodation in Port Macquarie following the launch of Liberty’s Safe Pets program.

The pet-friendly accommodation for two dogs, two cats and smaller pocket pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs was officially opened by NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman and Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams on Thursday 15 April.

Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services’ Safe Pets program received funding from the NSW Government’s Pets and Animal Welfare Support (PAWS) Grant and Community Building Partnership program, the RSPCA NSW’s Safe Families program and PETstock’s charity foundation, PETstock Assist.

Liberty CEO Kelly Lamb said the program would enable more local women and children to leave violence without worrying their pet might be harmed, while also increasing the wellbeing of families staying at Galbaan House.

“Pets are often used by perpetrators in coercive control, to intimidate, manipulate or punish victim-survivors, and often a woman will stay in a violent situation or delay leaving to ensure the safety and welfare of her pet,” Mrs Lamb said.

“An Australian study  has shown that around 50% of women in violent relationships report their partner had hurt or killed one of their pets, and we hear similar stories from many of our clients. We also know that separation from a pet can add increased stress for women and especially children.

“The demand was so high that we’ve already housed a number of cats and dogs before our official opening, and we were especially delighted to have a litter of kittens born here within the first weeks.

“We’re already seeing how incredibly strong the human-animal bond is, providing stress relief, emotional support and unconditional love for those who have survived traumatic situations.

“Our domestic violence specialists have undergone training through the RSPCA NSW’s Safe Families Framework and we’re connecting with local vets to ensure the welfare of the animals who stay with us,” Mrs Lamb said.

Photo Caption – Sandra Ma from RSPCA NSW, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman, Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, Liberty CEO Kelly Lamb and Phil from PETstock at the launch of Liberty’s Safe Pets program

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