February 3, 2017

It is a tragic fact that the various forms of domestic abuse impact upon many individuals and families across Wales. The RSPCA has experienced how family pets are often used as a tool to manipulate and control victims; often preventing vulnerable individuals or families from fleeing abusive relationships. Pets, as such, are often utilised by perpetrators as a form of coercive control to inhibit a victim’s freedom; and as such often become victims of abuse themselves.

RSPCA Cymru believes the General Principles of the Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill offers an opportunity for the Welsh Government to increase awareness of pet fostering schemes, which can provide vital support to victims seeking to flee abusive situations.

Statutory guidance issued to Local Authorities should include some emphasis on the role of pets with relation to environments of domestic abuse.

Furthermore, we believe the third sector could have a key role to play in the development of Local Strategies, and RSPCA Cymru would welcome opportunities to work with Councils and LHBs to ensure local options which may be available via the PetRetreat Scheme are acknowledged and promoted.