The RSPCA is asking victims of domestic abuse to avoid scoring an own goal by not escaping the violence through fear for their pets. The animal welfare charity’s PetRetreat service offers pet fostering for those fleeing domestic abuse in England and Wales.
The RSPCA is asking victims of domestic abuse to avoid scoring an own goal by not escaping the violence through fear for their pets. The animal welfare charity’s PetRetreat service offers pet fostering, advice and information for both men and women fleeing domestic abuse in England and Wales.
Ahead of this summer’s World Cup, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) released figures that showed reports of domestic violence rose by up 31% on match days during the 2006 competition. During England games specifically, there was an average of a 25% rise in domestic violence reports – with one in four offenders found to be under the influence of alcohol.
Unfortunately, authorities fear a repeat of such shocking statistics during this year’s tournament, which got underway last weekend. ACPO has already issued a warning to offenders that violent behaviour will not be tolerated.
Leading officer DCC Carmel Napier said: “There’s no excuse for domestic violence. We want people to enjoy the World Cup and that includes ensuring that people are free from the fear of violence.”
Carolyn Southwell, RSPCA’s PetRetreat manager said: “The rise in domestic violence is not the fault of football – it is the fault of violent people who take any opportunity to be abusive. Domestic abuse is a cowardly crime which cannot be excused by alcohol consumption or heightened emotions and we want to make sure that the victims are able to come forward without fear of what might happen to pets which they would otherwise have to leave behind.”
PetRetreat looks after people’s adult pets while they are in temporary accommodation or a refuge which does not allow animals. It aims to remove the obstacle of a commitment such as a pet which can prevent people from escaping domestic violence. Since its introduction in 2002, this vital service has helped more than 800 families and their animals.
The RSPCA would like to hear from people with the time, experience and patience to foster cats and dogs cared for through the Pet Retreat service, which is backed by national domestic violence charity Women’s Aid. Foster carers are needed throughout the country and especially in Devon, Somerset, South Wales, the Midlands and the North of England.