‘Domestic and family violence’ is defined as violence by a family member or current or former intimate partner. It may involve attempts to gain and/or maintain power and control over another through a range of abusive behaviours including physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse.
Domestic violence is a significant issue in Australia. It is the most common factor contributing to homelessness among women and their children, and plays a major role in the nation’s homicides.
The AJP believes that national and state policies addressing domestic and family violence should be well resourced and evidence based. This should include addressing intersections between family and domestic violence and animal justice issues.
1. Increase the coverage of domestic and family violence refuges, especially those that also shelter dependent children and animals, and provide secure funding.
2. Strengthen legislation relating to animal cruelty and ensure consistent and
adequate sentencing and rehabilitation for perpetrators of violence (see our
Animal Law policy).
3. Facilitate information sharing, collaboration and cross-training between police, other government departments, veterinarians and the Independent Animal Protection Agency to stamp out all forms of violence (see our Animal Law policy).
4. Create a single national register for convicted perpetrators of domestic and family violence and animal cruelty to forewarn potential victims and convey societal values of non-violence.
5. Reform the family law system to consider the animal’s wellbeing during divorce proceedings and make it easier for victims to amend animal registration and microchipping details without alerting the perpetrator as to their whereabouts.
6. Introduce compulsory reporting mechanisms for veterinarians who reasonably suspect animal abuse or domestic and family violence to be occurring.
7. Include age-appropriate lessons for school children to identify and respond to animal abuse and domestic and family violence situations. (see our education policy)