Webinar presenter Andrew Campbell of Campbell Research Consulting answered a number of your questions after his presentation, "Bad to the Bone: Pet Abuse, Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence." Here are a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Of the IPV victims that reported animal abuse, was the perpetrator inflicting physical harm to the animal or was the abuse more neglect-oriented?
Andrew Campbell: The information for my study is based on officer forms that were created for responding to these things. The way that the question was asked specifically just asks if the perpetrator has abused or killed. The idea would be that they have in fact perpetrated abuse. In the future, I am looking at revising that and I think it's critical to separate that, dive further into it. Look at threads in perpetration and killing. For the purpose of my study, the question was, "Has a pet been abused or killed?", so we're looking at perpetration of abuse against the animal in the home.
Audience Question: Tiffany asks, as animal control officers, should we be reporting to law enforcement when they have confirmed neglect and abuse cases? Are other agencies doing this? Can you make suggestions on records management systems of software?
Andrew Campbell: Tiffany, if you could email, I could share it with you. These are community specific decisions that are being made. I am concerned very much for every individual in these homes. I think absolutely, agencies should be working together — animal control, law enforcement, child protective services, other relevant and pertinent services and agencies that will likely be involved in these incidents. In terms of a standard protocol, we don't really see anything at a national level. We're raising more and more awareness. It remains largely community-specific. I think it makes sense to work and talk through these things with your community. The idea if we're reporting every single incident, we're looking at agencies that are already overwhelmed. While that's best case scenario, you also have to find that thin line between what's realistic. I know in Indianapolis for instance, our shelters are literally full. They're so overwhelmed by the number of abuse and things like that. I think ideally, yes, I would want all of these incidents to have agencies working together but I think it's important to look and figure out what is realistic in terms of knowing what funding that your agencies have and space they have. To at least identify the highest-risk ones that data shows.
Audience Question: Do most school resource officers receive training to know the warning signs to look for so that they can question children that may be acting out in school?
Andrew Campbell: Unfortunately, I would say no. There's a huge deficit in the number of disciplines related to domestic violence education but also when we add things like that. I didn't include a couple of examples but I am thinking of a child who was continuously falling asleep in school. The school counselor found out after appropriate question and talking to that student that it was largely relating to the reality that the child wasn't comfortable sleeping at home because, in his word, he felt that if he fell asleep, something bad would happen to his mom. He would stay up with her in the living room because he knew if he was close to her that his dad won't hurt his mom. Is every child falling asleep in the classroom mean there's a violence at home? No. But it was eye-opening that most of the things that we haven't really thought through or talked about. There's just a huge need for greater education, it's a need I'm trying to fill-in by reaching as many professionals across the country as I can. If you want to reach out to me there at the email I would absolutely send you any and all available resource that I can find that can help with the development of some of those systems.
Aaron: Leslie from the audience shares that she does take time out for training in these areas. She shares how important it is for SROs to get this kind of training so they can be well-rounded and help the people in their communities.
Audience Question: Are you aware of any articles on trauma for pets? For pets at foster and homes to help them heal?
Andrew Campbell: In terms of specific damage to the animal, there is good research. For animals, we could look at different trials and studies that had been published they will continually choose physical pain over emotional harm and there are great literature and research out there to show that they too experience significant injury. We see them more likely, for good reasons, to have some kind of trust issues and certain triggers to response that would be critical for foster homes to have access to. Again, it may take me some time to respond to all of them, please send me an email and if you have a specific question or area related to this issue that you want more information on, it's my passion and my drive to reach and help as many as I can with this message and in this work. I will absolutely get you any resource or material that I can if you just contact me at that email.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of "Bad to the Bone: Pet Abuse, Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence."