Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

A woman’s best friend – dogs and domestic violence

A new book, Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing You, Rescuing Me, explores the role that dogs and other companion animals play in women’s recovery from abuse, and the impacts on the animals themselves.

A dog (or other companion animal) is often a woman’s best friend when it comes to escaping and recovering from domestic violence. Women were interviewed by University of Canterbury Associate Professor Nik Taylor, and her co-author QUT Associate Professor Heather Fraser. They spoke of companion animals as part of the family which played an important role in helping them to heal after domestic violence.

The link between domestic violence and animal abuse is well documented in social work research, so the authors focused instead on the loving connections between human and animal survivors for their initial project: Loving You, Loving Me: Companion Animals and Domestic Violence.

“It is clear that these woman have a deep and profound relationship with their animals that helps them get through their experiences of abuse,” Dr Taylor says.

“For more than a few caught up in domestic violence, these relationships can literally provide victims/survivors with the will to live, to eat, sleep, keep caring for others, and in the process, maintain the will to rebuild their lives.”

Mistreatment of animals can also be the catalyst for women to leave.

“Women who say they can take the abuse themselves cannot see their animals suffer abuse, and that is ultimately good because it gets everyone out of the abusive situation,” Dr Taylor says.

Co-location following abuse may be just as important for animals, which are often impacted after indirectly or directly experiencing abuse. Dr Taylor wants people to remember that animals are victims, too. This was evident in the project, when participants spoke of their animals’ recovery process.

For example, one dog waited for the children in her family to come home after school and then licked them thoroughly. “It is just what she needs to do,” a woman explained in an interview.

Keeping women, children and animals together, however, is challenging. The Northern Domestic Violence Service (NDVS) in Adelaide is one of the few facilities that offers a pet-friendly shelter for domestic violence victims. Other shelters commonly offer a fostering service for pets, which keeps pets safe from abusers, but nonetheless separates women and children from their animals.

NDVS contacted Drs Taylor and Fraser after hearing them speak at a conference.

“They said ‘we offer a pet-friendly residence. We know that the women really value it but we don’t have any research showing that – are you interested?’ So we got together with them and the project was born,” Dr Taylor says.

NDVS created a photography exhibition of women, children and companion animals, and the interviews were conducted alongside that. The project, Loving Me, Loving You, then developed into the book. Featuring images from the photography exhibition, the book Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing You, Rescuing Me is published by Palgrave Macmillan and will be launched on 8 May at Avid Reader Bookshop in Brisbane, Australia, with a panel discussion hosted byABC Radio National's Paul Barclay in conversation with Dr Taylor, Dr Fraser and social worker Christine Craik.

UC Professor Annie Potts, co-director of UC’s New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, has called the book a “compelling landmark text”.

Rescuing You, Rescuing Me is a comprehensive, honest, compassionate and respectful study of a difficult and disturbing subject,” Professor Potts says.

The book will inform various academic disciplines including social work, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, geography, as well as to professionals working in domestic violence or animal welfare service provision.

However, the work also explores empathetic connections between humans and animals in the context of domestic violence.

For Dr Taylor, the impacts of domestic violence on animals has been a lifelong interest, since she first volunteered at an animal shelter in Northern England as an undergraduate student.

Dr Taylor is an internationally recognised critical and public sociologist who has published over 70 articles, books and book chapters. She recently joined UC and teaches topics in the Human Services programme that focus on human-animal violence links; scholar-advocacy; social change; and crime and deviance, particularly domestic violence and animal abuse. She is a convenor of the Human-Animal Studies (HAS


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis Review: Tarantino's Pitch-Perfect Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Welcome back to the violent and misogynistic, yet always entertaining world of Quentin Tarantino, who this time around focuses his dyspeptic lens on Tinseltown's pimply backside. More>>


Westpac Exiting Cake Tin: Stadium Announces Naming Rights Agreement With Sky

Wellington Regional Stadium Trust (WRST) and Sky Network Television Ltd (Sky) have announced a new partnership that will see Sky secure the naming rights of the Stadium from 1 January 2020. More>>

ALSO:

ASB Classic: Serena Williams Confirmed For 2020

One of the biggest names in sport has confirmed she will be returning to the ASB Classic in 2020. Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will return to Auckland’s ASB Tennis Arena to challenge for the ASB Classic title. More>>


Netball: Taurua To Coach Silver Ferns Through Two More Campaigns

Netball New Zealand has confirmed Taurua will guide the Silver Ferns as they take on the Australian Diamonds in October’s Cadbury Netball Series (Constellation Cup), along with the Northern Quad Series in late January. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland