The Treatment of Animals Within Families of Young Children: Antecedents of Compassion and Cruelty

Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 8)


Although research evidence suggests that violence against animals has been linked with the commission of future interpersonal violence, the idea is far from new and the results are sometimes unclear. Available research does document linkages between animal violence and behavioral issues such as conduct and antisocial personality disorders as well as correlations between violence within the home and abuse of companion animals. Recent acceptance of these results has led to various efforts including mandatory cross reporting, the inclusion of animals as victims in orders of protection, and the presence of animal-friendly shelters for victims of intimate partner violence. There is a growing acceptance of the concept that violence as well as the understanding that violence towards animals is an important predictor of an individual’s propensity for future assaults and his or her level of danger/lethality. Empirical evidence also suggests that the experience of animal violence is significantly more widespread than previously considered, although the factors that influence the commission of these acts are not currently well understood. Educators are placed in a unique position to influence behavior as well as to cultivate relationships and increase understanding of the links between animal and human violence. Likewise, they can serve to model appropriate animal interactions by including humane education within their classrooms.


Animal abuse Interpersonal violence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Statistical Analysis Center, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety CabinetFrankfortUSA
  2. 2.Department of Kinesiology and Health PromotionUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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