Intimate Partner Violence and Pet Abuse: Responding Law Enforcement Officers’ Observations and Victim Reports From the Scene

Andrew M. Campbell, Shannon L. Thompson, Tara L. Harris, Sarah Wiehe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The risk of harm/injury in homes where intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs is not limited to humans; animals reside in as many as 80% of these homes and may be at substantial risk of suffering severe or fatal injury. Gaining a better understanding of IPV-pet abuse overlap is imperative in more accurately identifying the risks of harm for all individuals and animals residing in these homes. The objectives of this study were to utilize law enforcement officers’ observations and IPV victim reports from the scene of the incident to (a) determine the prevalence of pet abuse perpetration among suspects involved in IPV incidents, (b) compare characteristics of IPV incidents and the home environments in which they occur when the suspect has a history of pet abuse with incidents involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse, and (c) compare IPV incident outcomes involving suspects with a history of pet abuse with those involving suspects with no reported history of pet abuse. IPV victims residing in homes with a suspect who has a history of pet abuse often describe “extremely high-risk” environments. With nearly 80% reporting concern that they will eventually be killed by the suspect, victims in these environments should be considered at significant risk of suffering serious injury or death. In addition, IPV victims involved in incidents with a suspect that has a history of pet abuse were significantly more likely to have had at least one prior unreported IPV incident with the suspect (80%) and to have ever been strangled (76%) or forced to have sex with the suspect (26%). Effective prevention/detection/intervention strategies are likely to require multidisciplinary collaboration and safety plans that address the susbstantial risk of harm/injury for all adults, children, and animals residing in the home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 1 2018

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Keywords

  • animal abuse
  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • law enforcement
  • multidisciplinary collaboration
  • sexual assault
  • violent offenders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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