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April 27, 2012

CUSTODY CASES Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

Why Aren't the Children Protected?

By Arlaine Rockey, Attorney at Law [1]

When allegations of child sexual abuse arise during a custody case, unfortunately, the professionals who are involved often look first to question the motives and veracity of the protective parent rather than to what they can do to protect the child. Most people think that making allegations of sexual abuse is a sure way for the protective parent to win the custody case. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Children, Community Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress

Quick to anger, trouble paying attention, disinterested--these behaviors in children demand adult intervention. Problem behaviors in children derive from many sources. One potential factor affecting too many children today is the physiological and psychological aftereffects of witnessing or being a victim of a traumatic event.

Traumatic stress comes in many forms and a full range of intensities, as do children's responses to it. Not all children who have experienced or witnessed trauma will exhibit behavior problems. Increasing adults understanding of the effects of trauma hopefully will enable them to better help children who experience problems.

Hidden Scars - Sexual and other abuse may alter a brain region

Many women and men who have been subjected to severe physical or sexual abuse during childhood suffer from long-term disturbances of the psyche. They may be invaded by nightmares and flashbacks--much like survivors of war--or, conversely, may freeze into benumbed calm in situations of extreme stress. Two recent studies find that survivors of child abuse may also have a smaller hippocampus relative to control subjects. If substantiated, the discovery could fill out the profile of an abuse survivor and help define what constitutes abuse.

Childhood Abuse Changes the Developing Brain

By Emma Patten-Hitt, Yahoo! News, December 29, 2000

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Childhood abuse and neglect may do more than just affect the way a person looks at life, new research suggests. Abuse may result in permanent physical changes to the developing brain--changes that could cause psychological problems in adulthood.

``The science shows that childhood maltreatment may produce changes in both brain function and structure,'' said lead investigator Dr. Martin H. Teicher, of the McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts. ``These changes are permanent,'' he added. ''This is not something people can just get over.''

April 25, 2012

The Pennsylvania Legislature Passes the Protection From Abuse Act Amendments

Click here to download a copy of House Bill 1717 as passed
On October 31, the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the long-awaited Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act amendments (HB 1717). By a unanimous vote, the State House concurred with the Senate and sent the bill on to the Governor for his signature. The PFA related amendments will take effect in 180 days from the date of signing.

The Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence as well as serial and mass criminal violence often involves animals. For families suffering with domestic violence or abuse, the use or threat of abuse against companion animals is often used for leverage by the controlling/violent member of the family to keep others in line or silent. The violence may be in the form of spousal abuse, child abuse (both physical and sexual), or elder abuse. The statistics are chilling. It is estimated that 88 percent of pets living in households with domestic abuse are either abused or killed. Of all the women who enter shelters to escape abuse, 57 percent have had a pet killed by their abuser.

Suspect in Dog Beating Sent Back to Jail Cell

By Doug Guthrie
Originally published in The Grand Rapids Press, May 10, 2001

ROCKFORD — Testimony about rage at his ex-wife that allegedly led Mark William Kruithoff to beat a dog with a hammer caused a judge on Wednesday to raise the Jenison man's bond and send him back to jail.

"I've been here 28 years and there aren't many things I haven't heard. Some have been pretty bad," Rockford District Judge Steven Servaas told Kruithoff. "You kill somebody because you hate them. You steal money because you want something. I just can't understand what it appears you have done here." Kruithoff, 35, is alleged to have dropped in at his parents' Tyrone Township home on April 18 to find them having dinner with his ex-wife, Carol Kruithoff, and their 2-year-old daughter.

States with DV Pet Laws

States with laws or that have bills pending to include pets in 
domestic violence orders:

Safe Havens for Pets: Guidelines for Programs Sheltering Pets for Women Who Are Battered

by Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D.

Anyone who has worked in the Domestic Violence field knows of cases where a victim chose to remain with a batterer rather than abandon a beloved pet, because so many DV Shelters will not allow those fleeing a violent situation to bring their pets with them. Dr. Frank Ascione, the world's leading authority on the connections between animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence, has provided a real solution in his ground-breaking Safe Havens for Pets. The production and dissemination of the book was made possible by funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The entire print run has been distributed, but you can still get it FREE, via a downloadable PDF, right here at The Zero. Just click here.

Police Say Dog is Killed by Owner's Ex-Boyfriend

BROCKTON — A small poodle was beaten to death in what authorities are calling one of worst cases of animal abuse they have seen in years.

Pet Protective Orders

Animals need protection at home as well as in the community, and The HSUS' Dr. Mary Lou Randour writes and speaks on their behalf. A Ph.D. psychologist and author of three books, Randour has also written two handbooks on animal abuse in juveniles and adults.

Man Sentenced to Six Months For Domestic Violence, Animal Cruelty

KENT — A King County judge issued a six-month jail sentence and a stern warning to an Auburn man for beating a cat and being violent with his girlfriend in front of their children.

Man Kills Dog By Throwing It Against Wall

A Norman man is facing felony charges for allegedly killing his girlfriend's 5-month-old Chihuahua puppy by throwing it against the wall.

Hobe Sound Man Battered Girlfriend, Killed Puppies, Police Say

HOBE SOUND — A Hobe Sound man was charged with animal cruelty and domestic violence after he suffocated two puppies and battered his girlfriend, authorities said on Tuesday.

Final Report on the project entitled: Animal Welfare and Domestic Violence

This study represents the first attempt to assess animal maltreatment in samples of women seeking safety at shelters for women who are battered (101 women) and community samples of women who were not battered (60 women). We developed instruments to measure pet abuse from women and children's reports and assessed levels of family violence (not including pet abuse) using the well known Conflict Tactics Scale. Current and past pet ownership (in the past 12 months) was high for all samples (ranging from 64.1% to 96.6%) but the shelter sample reported lower current pet ownership than the community sample. There were also lower levels of regular and emergency veterinary care and pet vaccination rates in the shelter sample. Pet "turnover" over the past 5 years was higher in the shelter group. Partners (e.g., husbands, boyfriends) of shelter women were less likely to help care for animals than partners of community sample women.

Factors in the Assessment of Dangerousness in Perpetrators of Animal Cruelty

by Randall Lockwood, Ph.D.

We are frequently called upon to assist cruelty investigators, law-enforcement officers, court officials or mental health professionals in evaluating the significance of an individual's involvement in a particular act of animal cruelty as an indicator of dangerousness or possible risk for involvement of future acts of violence against others. The relatively low level of attention given to even the most serious acts of animal abuse has made it difficult to systematically or quantitatively assess the various factors that should be considered in evaluating the potential significance of various violent acts against animals. However, the following factors are suggested as relevant criteria in such evaluations. They are based on several sources including:

Elder Abuse and Animal Cruelty

On January 20, 2001, an anonymous caller to the Washington, D.C. Humane Society reported that her neighbor's daughter had thrown a dead dog into the trash dumpster. Animal control officers arrived at the scene to discover that the dead dog was only the tip of the iceberg. They also found an emaciated and disoriented 90-year-old woman. The floor of the house was covered with trash and dog feces, parts of the ceiling had caved in, and mildew covered the walls.

DAs Link Pet Abuse, Domestic Violence (New York Daily News)

Thirty-five New Yorkers who were never punished for beating their lovers are now in jail—or in therapy—because they abused the family pet.

And it's all due to a little-known partnership that the Brooklyn and Staten Island district attorneys have forged with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' family vision unit, an anti-violence program that, since 1998, has been educating city agencies about the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Children found living among filth and dead dogs Winston-Salem, NC (US)

Winston-Salem police arrested a woman yesterday after they found her children living in her apartment among feces, moldy food and a dead dog.

Children and Animal Cruelty: What Parents Should Know

As natural "explorers," don't all children sometimes harm animals?

Absolutely not. While some children kill insects, few torture pets or other small creatures. If allowed to harm animals, children are more likely to be violent later in life. Animal cruelty, like any other violence, should never be attributed to a stage of development.

Animal Cruelty/Domestic Violence Fact Sheet

Why do batterers threaten, abuse, or kill animals?
  • To demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family.
  • To isolate the victim and children.
  • To eliminate competition for attention.
  • To force the family to keep violence a secret.
  • To teach submission.
  • To retaliate for acts of independence and self-determination.
  • To perpetuate the context of terror.
  • To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return.
  • To punish the victim for leaving.
  • To degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse.

Animal Cruelty and Family Violence: Making the Connection

Pets are part of the family in the majority of American households, where nearly three-quarters of families with school-age children have at least one companion animal. These animals are often treated like members of the family, but if the family is experiencing violence they can become targets as well. Pets are often an important source of comfort and stability to the victims of abuse, particularly children. But abusive family members may threaten, injure, or kill pets, often as a way of threatening or controlling others in the family.

Abuse Connection

According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse.

Animal Abuse: Legislation in North America and Latin America

Alice Crook * Canada

Veterinary practitioners are often the first professionals to examine an abused animal. Both to protect that animal and because the abuse may be a sentinel for other violence that is occurring within or outside the family, it is crucial that veterinarians deal effectively with instances of suspected animal maltreatment. It has long been recognized in the human field that reporting of abuse to the appropriate authorities is a crucial component of effective intervention; this is being accepted more and more in the veterinary profession.

Animal Abuse and Human Violence - Sotal

Dr. Lockwood is President of The American Association of Humane Societies. He is a well-known speaker on the association between cruelty toward animals and violence toward humans.

A decade ago, stories of animal cruelty and human violence attracted little media attention and were not a significant part of American popular culture. There was comparatively little professional interest in the topic outside of the animal care and control community and only limited discussion of the issue within the professions most directly affected by the abuse of animals and its links to other forms of violence, namely mental health, criminal justice, and veterinary medicine (Lockwood, 1999).

April 23, 2012

Domestic violence fair to give voice to Missouri victims

Mark May 1st on your calendars and go out and help support this event or gain the knowledge that is needed! Silent Witness red life-size silhouettes of women will be on display for this event.

Domestic violence fair to give voice to Missouri victims


April 21, 2012

Address Confidentiality Program

The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a confidential mail-forwarding service for domestic violence victims who have recently relocated to a location unknown to their abuser.  The goal of the ACP is to help domestic violence victims keep their new address confidential.