By Lieran Docherty, Program Manager
In 2017, Link Coalition Toronto (a registered non-profit) was created to raise awareness—through outreach and education—of the connection between four types of family violence. Domestic violence often co-occurs with child abuse and elder abuse, yet there is an additional form of co-occurring violence that is frequently forgotten: animal abuse. As a means of exerting power and control, abusers will threaten and/or physically harm/kill pets in an effort to punish or instill fear in their adult and child victims. When children see and hear animal abuse within their home, they put themselves in harm’s way by trying to protect their pets.
To support both survivors and domestic violence shelters, Link Coalition Toronto launched the SafePet Program in December of 2017. This program provides foster homes for the pets of survivors of domestic violence, while the survivors stay at a GTA DV shelter. They are currently partnered with Interval House and Ernestine’s Women's Shelter, and plan to expand their SafePet support to additional shelters once they have more foster homes.
Click here to learn more about Link Coalition Toronto. Please contact them directly if you are interested in having them speak about the SafePet Program, or about the “link” among domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and animal abuse, at a staff meeting or professional development seminar.