dvconnect counsellors and workers in the wider domestic violence sector regularly speak to women whose pets are beaten or tortured by abusive partners in order to frighten and control them into staying in violent relationships.
For others, especially the children, moving into refuge without their special companion at this time compounds the loss and makes the trauma they are facing their family life that much more intense.
Until now, as refuges are neither equipped nor approved to house animals, women have been faced with the difficult decision of abandoning their pets to get refuge, or paying prohibitive fees to board pets at a time when they may have nothing but the clothes on their back.
Women who need to stay in domestic violence refuges but are unable to find alternative care for their pets can contact dvconnect womensline on 1800 811 811 and counsellors will liaise with the RSPCA to provide temporary care of companion animals with trained volunteer foster carers. Prior to fostering, the RSPCA will examine the animal and provide immediate care and assessment for animals needing vaccines and basic assistance.
The animals will be cared for 28 days, or until the woman is able to leave the refuge and re-