Lucy’s Project, the peak organisation raising awareness of the link between animal abuse and domestic violence in Australia, will this weekend bring together family violence specialists, veterinary professionals and policy makers for the Lucy’s Project conference.
Called Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse – Strategic and Practical Perspectives, the event is being held on 22-23 September and will be hosted by the University of Melbourne’s School of Social Sciences and the Melbourne Veterinary School.
The conference aims to raise awareness of the link between family violence and animal welfare, and to streamline responses.
Lucy’s Project founder Anna Ludvik said research in Victoria found 53 per cent of women who had experienced domestic violence had reported that a violent partner had hurt or killed one of their pets. Even without threats or abuse, many people experience threats to their pets as a means of control.
“Companion animals are also often cited as the reason a victim returns to an abusive home or delays fleeing a violent situation,” Ludvik said, adding that many people were unaware of emergency pet accommodation and veterinary services for victims’ animals.
“Vets have taken a leadership role in helping to identify and raise awareness of this issue, but many vets do not feel they have the training or knowledge to link animal owners to services,” she said.
“We are now working to offer practical and strategic perspectives that veterinarians and family violence practitioners can use to understand what other services are available and to create a network of collaboration.”
The two-day conference will see a variety of talks and panel discussions with a target audience of family violence specialists, academics, and veterinary professionals. The general public is also welcome.
A half-day workshop for veterinarians and veterinary nurses will be held on Sunday 23 September, delivered by veterinary experts in forensics, imaging, emergency and critical care, and family violence practitioners.
Domestic violence practitioners will also benefit from half-day specialised workshops.
Veterinarians will be able to earn continuing professional development points for participation.