Knowledge and attitudes of Australian veterinarians to animal abuse and human interpersonal violence

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Abstract

A survey of Australian veterinarians was undertaken to assess their amount of knowledge about, and their attitudes towards animal abuse, human violence and the link between the two. Results from the 185 respondents to a questionnaire that was either mailed out or hand delivered revealed a wide variety of definitions and attitudes towards abuse, with the majority of veterinarians recognising the link between human and animal abuse. The overwhelming majority of veterinarians believed that they should intervene in some way when confronted with either animal or human abuse, although most felt ill-equipped to deal with suspected human abuse. Almost 20% of cases of animal abuse had associated suspected or known human abuse. It is suggested that veterinarians need more resources made available to them to be able to deal more effectively with these situations.

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