Dogs Trust Freedom Project

We respond to The Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill Report

Dogs Trust welcomes the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill in a report which was released today (June 14th 2019) as this is such an important issue.

Although we are disappointed to see that our recommendations are not mentioned by the Joint Committee in today's response, we will continue to campaign for perpetrators' behaviour towards pets to be included in the Domestic Abuse Bill when it returns to Parliament.

We have been running the Freedom Project, a fostering service for dogs belonging to people escaping domestic abuse, for the past 15 years. We know through our work that many perpetrators will use a survivor's much-loved pet as a tool to attempt to maintain power and control over them. Evidence suggests that there is a link between abuse to pets and abuse to people in the context of domestic abuse. If a perpetrator also abuses a pet, this is recognised as an increased risk factor for the victim.

We also know that as many refuges are unable to accept pets, this can often be a barrier for someone attempting to flee from abuse. Our service aims to remove that barrier, whilst also raising awareness of the issue of pet abuse within the context of domestic abuse.

Dogs Trust Freedom Project runs in Greater London & the Home Counties, Yorkshire, the North West, the North East and Scotland. We offer a free, confidential pet fostering service for pet owners who are fleeing domestic abuse and accessing refuge/emergency accommodation.

Find out more about Dogs Trust Freedom Project