This pet fostering service for domestic violence survivors is helping to remove barriers to escaping and spreading awareness about the links with animal abuse. Refuge4Pets provides safe animal foster homes and gives domestic violence survivors the peace of mind that their pet is well looked after until they get settled.
This pet fostering service for domestic violence survivors is helping to remove barriers to escaping and spreading awareness about the links with animal abuse.
Leaving an abusive relationship is a difficult step to take and survivors face a number of hurdles to walking out.
One of these can be a beloved pet and the fact that they cannot be taken into emergency accommodation, causing further distress to survivors and their children.
Animals can also be the silent victims of domestic abuse. They can be threatened, yelled at, kicked, beaten and in some cases, killed, as a method of coercive control.
Dr Mary Wakeham, who has worked in the field of supporting children and adults who have experienced domestic abuse for 12 years, was determined to remove this barrier.
In 2017, she founded charity Refuge4Pets, which provides safe animal foster homes and gives victims the peace of mind that their pet is well looked after until they get settled.
In 2021, Refuge4Pets supported 91 families in Devon and Cornwall to escape abuse, helped by 150 volunteers.
They can give a home to dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles and small animals like hamsters and rabbits.
The charity provides veterinarian care for these animals, as well as food, bedding and accessories
It has also set up an outreach service to support survivors to recover from abuse and form positive relationships in the community, and it provides training and resources to professionals to help them understand the link between domestic abuse and animal abuse.
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