Supporting dog owners fleeing domestic abuse

Freedom, our dog fostering service offering support for people escaping domestic abuse.

Freedom Project fosterer Carmel with a foster dog

Freedom provides free and confidential temporary care for dogs, enabling owners fleeing domestic abuse to access a refuge without the fear of what may happen to their dog if left behind. 

The project now runs in Greater London and south-east England, East Anglia, Yorkshire, north-east and north-west England, Scotland and Wales.

How does Freedom help?

Many refuges can’t accept pets, meaning in many cases people experiencing domestic abuse can’t leave their home until they know their dog is somewhere safe.

Dogs within the project are cared for in the loving home of a volunteer foster carer until their owners can be safely reunited with them.

Gemma's incredible story

Gemma is a survivor and has waived her right to anonymity in order to talk about her experience of domestic abuse and the Freedom Project.

"I had been in an abusive relationship for three years. I eventually managed to flee and went into a refuge with my son, but they were unable to take pets which led me to discover the Freedom Project. They were fantastic – within 24 hours they had found Dusty a foster home.

"The staff showed such compassion and understanding and reassured me daily. The service is outstanding and it’s because of the Freedom Project that us three amigos – myself, my son, and Dusty – are still together. 

My life has changed for the better, and so has Dusty’s. For that, we’re extremely grateful."

Request temporary foster care for your dog 

If you’d like to have a chat about referring your dog to our Freedom Project, pop us an email or give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk you through the process. 

If you decide our service is right for you, we’ll be here for you every step of the way.

What it's like to foster for Freedom

Volunteer foster carer Chrissie explains how, when you volunteer for Freedom, you're helping not only dogs but also families at the most awful time of their lives. You get all the benefits of having a pet with none of the associated cost and an incredibly supportive group of people behind you. 

Become a Freedom fosterer

Our service is only possible thanks to the support and commitment of our amazing volunteer foster carers who love and care for the dogs in their own homes. 

If you have experience caring for dogs, are at home most of the day and can commit to fostering for at least six months, we’d love to hear from you – get in touch with our friendly team today and make a real difference in the lives of a dog and their family.

Additional support

If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse, the following organisations may be able to help you.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse and need support and advice, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free, 24-hour service.

They run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge for people experiencing domestic abuse and anyone calling on their behalf. 

The helpline can give support and information over the phone and is staffed 24 hours a day by fully trained female support workers and volunteers. You can contact them on 0808 2000 247

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (free, 24hr) 0800 027 1234

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327

Live Fear Free Helpline 0808 80 10 800

Galop National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428

Donate to support Freedom

Freedom has enabled countless people to find safety with their beloved dog. So many people stay in difficult situations, because they feel it's the only way they can protect their beloved pet. 

With your support, we’ve helped more than 2,000 people flee domestic abuse.

Will you join us in our mission to help even more dog owners experiencing domestic abuse?

Our research

Almost 9 in 10 professionals working in the domestic abuse sector have seen cases where a pet has also been abused. Almost half (49%) of professionals working in the sector are aware of domestic abuse cases where the pet has been killed.

In addition to the physical abuse that pets may suffer, 97% of professionals said they are also often used as a means of controlling someone experiencing domestic abuse. More than 9 in 10 professionals (95%) also said that some survivors will not leave their home without knowing their pet would be safe.

How we help
How we help
Is fostering a dog right for you?
Is fostering a dog right for you?