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Pets can be at the heart of domestic violence cases. Often perpetrators of domestic violence will prevent partners and children from leaving the home by threatening to harm the family pets. Victims can often feel they have no choice but to stay in violent relationships because they want to protect their beloved pets from harm. For victims with children it can be an especially traumatic situation to manage. The stress of removing children from dangerous home situations may exacerbate a child already facing many changes in their life.

The RSPCA has recognised this barrier many victims of domestic violence face. The RSPCA NSW Safe Beds for Pets Program is an opportunity for people who may be in life-threatening situations. The Safe Beds for Pets Program provides temporary accommodation for pets and peace of mind for domestic violence victims. While it is not a long-term solution to the housing of the pet, it is chance for victims to secure their own safety first without worrying about their pet’s safety instead.

Victims who leave domestic violence situations often have to do so on the spot, and may not be able to leave pets in the care of family or friends. The wait list and cost of pet boarding is often out of reach for victims as well, so programs such as Safe Beds for Pets can be a lifeline.

Whilst the program does not solve the domestic violence epidemic Australia faces, the more support services that are available to victims, the closer we can get to ensuring women’s safety.

Contact safebeds@rspca.org.au or click here to find out more about the program.