Interested in helping to reduce animal abuse and human violence? Here are some good ways to get started!
1. Report Abuse: Take all forms of family violence — including animal cruelty — seriously. They are all crimes themselves and a red flag for other violence—past, present or future. If you’re concerned, report it, and let a professional agency determine what the next step should be:
Suspect child abuse?
Call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline:
Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway for a directory of State Child Abuse Reporting Hotlines.
Suspect domestic violence?
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for a directory of State Domestic Violence Coalitions and Crisis Lines.
Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline
Suspect elder abuse?
Visit the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) locator map.
Contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116
Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse State Directory of Helplines and Hotlines
Suspect animal abuse?
Visit the World Animal Net Directory to identify the Animal Control agency, humane society, or SPCA in your community. You may have to ask a few departments to determine which one has law enforcement powers to investigate cases.
2. Screen for abuse: Revise crisis line, intake, referral, assessment, and other forms to routinely include questions that expose other forms of violence. For example, child welfare, domestic violence and adult protective services can ask three key questions:
- Are there animals at home?
- How are they cared for?
- Are you worried about their welfare?
Case workers can look for malnourished or mistreated animals, or excessive numbers of them, or dangerous animals that threaten their clients. Animal shelter and veterinary personnel can observe situations that suggest domestic violence, child abuse or elder abuse, and ask the client if they have any family concerns that affect the welfare of animals or others in the home.
3. Collaborate against abuse: Set up lines of communication, Memorandums of Understanding, and inter-agency protocols for referrals and response. Distribute lists of contacts for other agencies to your staff so they know who to call when they see a situation suggestive of another form of family violence. Provide in-service training to other agencies’ staff to explain what your organization does… and have them provide similar training for your people. Partner with other agencies to support legislation addressing The Link (cross-reporting, pet protection orders, etc.).
4. Support LINK laws: Each issue of the LINK-Letter contains a list of state legislation involving Link topics that we’re following. Voice your concerns to legislators who can help make a difference.
5. Set an Example: We urge parents and teachers to teach, model and encourage kids to show kindness and compassion towards other people and animals and to develop and deliver curricula that build empathy.
6. Learn more: Read our free monthly electronic newsletter, The LINK-Letter. Contact us and ask to be placed on our mailing list.
7. Spread the word: Invite National Link Coalition representatives to conduct training workshops at your local, state, regional and national conferences. Connect us with media representatives when news stories appear showing how various forms of family violence are linked. Please contact us for details.
8. Establish a community Link coalition: Fight violence in all its forms through an interdisciplinary task force that integrates domestic violence, child protection, animal welfare and elder abuse groups. See our Toolkit for guidance and contact us for assistance in forming a Link coalition in your community.