Milwaukee‘s making its residents uncomfortable, and it’s awesome.
The city recently launched a new pilot program, Spot Abuse, that’s raising awareness of the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. The new public service campaigns show images of abused pets with young children next to them with chilling headlines, like “He’s next.” The goal is to encourage more people to report animal abuse. In doing so, citizens could help entire families.
What‘s Spot Abuse?
The Wisconsin Humane Society stands behind the Spot Abuse program. The concept is simple: one phone call can stop two forms of abuse — animal and human.
Often, animal abuse is easier to observe and to report. This program helps give a voice to the voiceless animals.
The program is also desperately needed in Milwaukee to help combat domestic violence, which is exponentially on the rise. Abuse in the home was up 48 percent in 2012, and it’s estimated that 70 percent of abuse never gets reported every year. Sadly, 65 percent of victims will stay in abusive environments.
The program emerged from the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ research. Shockingly, 76 percent of animal abusers will go on and abuse a family member. By reporting animal abuse, law enforcement can explore other possible forms of abuse. As reported in the Wisconsin Humane Society, John Chisolm, Milwaukee County’s District Attorney, said it best: “It’s just simple math. If we can increase the number of opportunities the police have to investigate domestic abuse inside the home, the more families we can help get the resources they need and move them into safer environments.”
The goal is to make “make people uncomfortable with their inaction.” If the campaign gets more citizens to take action, make the call, and there’s an increase in domestic violence arrests, then the pilot program could be implemented across the country to decrease the prevalence of domestic abuse.
The campaign is also working with local authorities to help them recognize abusive situations from the 911 dispatchers to the detectives on the case. Involving multiple tiers of authority could make the pilot program a true success.
The Wisconsin Humane Society also brings up an interesting element. We often hear that domestic violence victims don’t want to leave their abusive partners because they are children or other family members involved, but many also choose to stay for their pets. Programs like the Safe Haven Program give abused animals refuge, too. Safe Haven in particular offers the pets of domestic abuse victims shelter for 60 days.
Television and radio public service announcements are accompanying the heartbreaking billboards. Spot Abuse is also active on social media to relay its message about one call saving multiple lives.
The Domestic Abuse and Animal Abuse Link
The American Humane Association partnered with the National Coaltion Against Domestic Violence to come up more facts about this animal/domestic abuse link. Here is what they found:
– 71 percent of women who entered shelters with pets said that their abuser had also “injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets.” Revenge and psychological control and manipulation were common reasons for the animal abuse.
– Shockingly, 32 percent of the women said that their own children had also hurt or killed animals. But then again, 75 percent of the women said that their children witnessed animal abuse and violence. The children could be performing the violence because they are: 1) mimicking their parents’ behavior, 2) they are trying to prevent the animal from being killed by the abuser, or 3) they are releasing their own aggressions on another victim.
– Across the world, 13 percent of animal abuse is connected to domestic abuse.
Pets are already family to most of us. By taking action and reporting animal abuse, then you could save a pet and an entire family. Be a voice for the voiceless, animal and human alike.
Here’s a neat infographic that will help you spot animal abuse.
What would you do if you saw animal or domestic abuse? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha