Who We Are
Simply stated Haven! CA, Inc. is dedicated to helping humans and animals escape domestic violence together. Founded by a survivor of domestic violence, Haven! CA, Inc. was started to fill a gap in services available to domestic violence victims. Most domestic violence shelters do not have the space or training to provide housing for animals while the human family members are receiving services. Those victims with pets would have to make the decision of giving their animals away, surrendering them to animal services, or leaving them behind. This difficult decision is impossible for many victims and 41% of victims report delaying their escape due to their concern for their animals.
How Cruelty to Animals is a Part of Domestic Violence
- Many U.S. households have pets, and pets are often considered part of the family. Recognizing the bonds between victims and their pets, many batterers threaten, harm, and even kill pets in the home in order to control, intimidate, and retaliate against their victims.
- Up to 71% of victims entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers threatened, injured, or killed the family pets. Research indicates that pet abuse may be a red flag for increased severity of domestic violence and more controlling behavior by the abuser.
- According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's directory of domestic violence programs, fewer than 1 in 8 domestic violence shelters is able to accommodate victim's pets.
- Abusers often threaten to harm pets if a victim flees. Threats toward a pet have also been used as effective ways to silence children from reporting both physical and sexual abuse.
- As many as half of all victims of domestic violence entering shelters report that they delayed seeking safety from an abusive situation because of concerns about what would happen to their pets.
- Victims who leave pets behind have been known to leave domestic violence shelters and return to the residence in order to attempt to reclaim or care for their pets.
- In addition to these safety risks to both humans and animals, witnessing pet abuse is traumatic to both children and adults. In a violent situation, a loving bond with a pet may serve as a vital source of support. Being forced to leave pets behind when fleeing abuse,especially with the knowledge that they may face further harm from the abuser, serves as an additional stressor at a a time where they are already in crisis.
- Children who witness pet abuse may go on to engage in animal cruelty themselves. In addition, animal cruelty in children is a risk factor for interpersonal violence.