, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 41-52
Date: 17 Oct 2008

Animal Abuse, Family Violence, and Child Wellbeing: A Review

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Abstract

Animal abuse and family violence appear to be “linked” and tend to co-occur in the same households. Companion animals are often regarded as family members, if not by the abuser, then by others within the family. Consequently, in families where any given form of violence exists, animal abuse is also more likely to exist. This paper examines animal abuse in the context of abusive home environments, and the relationship between an abusive home in childhood and the range of behavioral problems that may extend into adulthood. Existing investigations are reviewed with reference to prevalence, epidemiology, and child development theory. It appears that holistic interventions to counter abusive home environments may represent the most effective way to break the association between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, by addressing the shared situational characteristics common to a range of violent behaviors.