CRISIS accommodation is now available for women, children and their pets fleeing family violence.
The Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS) says pets can play a significant role in family dynamics and it is importance to also support them when women and children are fleeing family violence.
EDVOS now has accommodation available at three crisis properties in Melbourne’s eastern metropolitan area that can safely accommodate women, children and their pets – each equipped with kennels, pet food and other animal amenities.
The service is also working with Women’s Liberation Halfway House (WLHH) to provide the first specialist pet-friendly women’s refuge in Victoria by the end of June.
“Women and children go through unspeakable trauma during family violence and being forced to abandon one of their only comforts causes further emotional damage,” EDVOS executive director Jenny Jackson said.
“EDVOS pet-friendly crisis properties and WLHH refuge can save lives, both human and animal. The knowledge that these shelters are out there, and that they are increasing in numbers is a bright spot in the ugly reality of family violence.
“Hundreds of women, children and their beloved pets across Victoria are constrained in violent relationships because the fear and practicalities of leaving are just too overwhelming. Let’s hope this can now start to change.”
Ms Jackson said research shows that 53 per cent of women in violent relationships with pets reported their animals had also been abused or threatened.
Welfare workers or women in distress can call EDVOS 9am-8pm Monday to Friday or 9am-5pm Saturdays on 9259 4200.