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Understanding the Link

Emerging research verifies what many social service practitioners, public servants and everyday people have understood for years — there is a strong connection between human and animal abuse. A shift is occuring in the conceptualizing of child maltreatment where it no longer seems wise to see these different forms of violence as separate and unrelated.

  • In the mental health field:
    The link between animal abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence is documented in the most recent DSMV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, the standard guide for mental health professionals for diagnosing psychological disorders and mental illness.

  • In domestic violence and animal shelters: Experts at a national conference in September 2008 noted that, based upon shelter surveys, 88 percent of homes with physically abused children also have abused or neglected pets.

  • In law enforcement:
    The link between violence to humans and violence to animals is very well documented in the criminal justice system. Animal abuse is a common background for perpetrators and serial killers.


Sometimes companion animals speak louder about their home life than children can.


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