According to the National LINK Coalition, animal abuse, cruelty and neglect are often considered isolated incidents wholly separated from other forms of family violence.
Today, professionals involved with animal cruelty investigations or with assisting victims of family violence understand these acts are often linked, and that various agencies and organizations are working with the same families.
THE MISSION of the North Texas LINK Coalition is to facilitate the North Texas area’s recognition and understanding of the dynamic connection between animal abuse and the cycle of family and societal violence.
The vision is a future where the North Texas area is knowledgeable about the LINK, and created partnerships have the common goal of helping those caught in the cycle of violence that we seek to impact.
The purpose of the North Texas LINK Coalition is:
1. To educate the North Texas community to recognize the link between animal abuse and other forms of violence.
2. To advocate for the implementation of policies and procedures at North Texas agencies and organizations to identify suspected abuse and to notify the appropriate agencies.
3. To advocate for the implementation of standard policies and procedures in North Texas agencies and organizations for the purpose of collecting, reporting, and sharing data.
What Does The Link Look Like?
Animal abuse is “the tip of the iceberg”: the way animals are regarded in a family is a window into interpersonal relationships and family dynamics. Investigators who find animal cruelty, abuse or neglect are rarely surprised to see other issues lurking beneath the surface.
Animal abuse is part of an inter-generational cycle of violence. Children living in homes with domestic violence and animal abuse absorb unhealthy attitudes and family norms…and hand these values down to their own children when they grow up.
Photo credit: SPCA of Texas and Texas Humane Legislation Network
Animal abuse is a form of power and control used to manipulate, intimidate, and retaliate against others in domestic violence. It is one part of the Duluth Model of Power and Control used widely in the domestic violence field.
Illustration Credit: www.nationallinkcoalition.org
When animals are abused, people are at risk; when people are abused, animals are at risk. Increasing awareness of the link is encouraging legislators, community agencies, and caring people to take action by giving greater importance to suspected animal abuse, knowing that they may be also preventing other forms of violence.
Learn the signs of abuse, how to recognize abuse, how to intervene and how to report
Over the past 30 years, researchers and professionals in a variety of human services and animal welfare disciplines have established significant correlations between animal abuse, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse and other forms of violence. Mistreating animals is no longer seen as an isolated incident that can be ignored: it is often an indicator or predictor crime and a “red flag” warning sign that other family members in the household may not be safe.