Humane society to adopt program for pet victims of domestic violence

"The shelter has committed to providing emergency boarding at no cost — and it’s not just for pets of domestic violence victims, but for pets of people going through a variety of life challenges."

 

For many people, pets are a part of the family. They cop human food and sleep on the furniture. Some pet owners even dress their pups up. Often, a pet is man’s — or woman’s — best friend, an invaluable source of companionship and comfort.

But our four-legged friends may also be innocent victims in dangerous family affairs, like domestic violence.

Often, pets are used as the instruments of control that are hallmarks of domestic violence, and threats of violence toward a pet are often used as a means of power by an abusive family member, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Since domestic violence shelters don’t always allow pets, they can be one reason men or women might stay in a dangerous situation, according to the same study from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Animals can also become victims themselves.

Multiple studies have found that from 49 percent to 71 percent of battered women reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed or killed by their abusive partners, according to the Animal Welfare Institute, an organization that is dedicated to reducing animal cruelty. The institute found that 85 percent of domestic violence shelters indicated that women coming to their facilities reported incidents of pet abuse.

Fortunately, there’s a safety net in the works in the Monadnock Region.

The Monadnock Humane Society aims to adopt the Animal Safety Net Program (ASN) in June. Animal Safety Net is a California-based program that acts as a safe haven by providing temporary housing for pets and moving them into shelters while their owners get out of domestic violence and into somewhere safe.

The local humane society, at 101 Swanzey Road, is adopting that same program, but on steroids, so to speak.

The shelter has committed to providing emergency boarding at no cost — and it’s not just for pets of domestic violence victims, but for pets of people going through a variety of life challenges. This could include substance abuse recovery, homelessness, transitional housing and other financial struggles. Dogs, cats, small animals and birds are welcome.

The humane society cares for about 1,400 animals each year. It has sheltered animals whose owners were going through life challenges, before, but not through any official program. They’ve offered other resource programs like a pet food program where they supplied owners with free food and a child literacy program where kids read to dogs.

As part of the new program, the humane society will pick up the medical bill if the animal needs shots, neutering, vaccinations or treatment

“Oftentimes, if an animal’s living in a situation like a homeless situation or domestic violence, there might be some level of lack of care that’s been taking place, as well, just because they don’t have the financial means,” explained Kathy Collinsworth, the Monadnock Humane Society’s executive director.

That’s where the grant money the humane society has received will help the most, Collinsworth thinks.

In February, the shelter was chosen for a grant from the 100+ Women Who Care Cheshire County. The Monadnock Humane Society was the second-ever recipient of the collective donation from the chapter and received over $9,000. The group is based on the concept of bringing women together to make a larger impact on our community.

The roughly 40 foster families the shelter already works with will be approached to take in pets while their owners are going through their challenges, allowing the pet to stay in a home rather than a shelter. The foster family and the pet owner will have contact, so the owner can receive updates on their loved one.

Like the staff, foster families will go through training to learn how to handle issues of confidentiality.

Preventing animal abuse isn’t the only component of the program, but intervening in the abuse within the family too, Collinsworth explained.

Children who witness abuse have a strong likelihood of abusing animals or other people, Collinsworth explained, and if a victim of abuse has an outlet, they can take their child and animal to safety.

According to National Link Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revealing the link between various types of abuse, animal maltreatment is often “the tip of the iceberg” and the first warning sign of an individual or family in trouble.

“If we can get a child (out of a domestic violence situation) or somebody leaves a domestic violence situation sooner because they have a resource and a place to bring their animal, then they’re getting that child out of that domestic violence situation sooner,” Collinsworth explained.

Forms of abuse the shelter has dealt with are pet hoarding, neglectful situations and bestiality.

She expects the shelter will receive more animals who come from abusive households as word about the program spreads.

The Animal Safety Net Program is in the planning phases; the next step is to connect with local human service agencies such as the Department of Children, Youth and Families, Monadnock Family Services, Hundred Nights homeless shelter, Southwestern Community Services and Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention. The partnership will connect victims of domestic violence or other life challenges to the shelter so they’re animal can stay safe.

“We’re really excited to help,” Collinsworth said.

“Sometimes that animal is all (the victims) have left.”

Charity urges people to 'borrow a dog' - and help victims of domestic violence

“Knowing that their four legged friend is cared for in a loving home allows them the freedom they need to escape to safety.” - Clare Kivlehan, head of outreach at the Dogs Trust

 

If you’ve always wanted a dog but can’t keep one full time, this charity has a solution for you - which could also be a lifeline to people fleeing domestic violence.

According to rescue charity The Dog’s Trust, fostering a dog can be a great alternative for animal lovers who can’t give long-term commitment for a pet.

Through their Freedom Project, they’ve asked volunteers to offer short-term refuge to the dogs of people escaping violent or abusive homes — and they’re looking for more volunteers in NorthumberlandCounty Durham, and Tyne and Wear, where they’re growing the project.

For a dog-lover, the prospect of leaving their beloved pet could be heartbreaking, making it even harder to get away from a dangerous situation.

But most refuges aren’t able to take in dogs, so abuse victims may struggle to find somewhere safe for their pet. According to the trust, research indicates a strong link between animal abuse and domestic abuse, with men who are violent to women, in particular, often threatening or harming a pet in order to intimidate their partner.

That’s where foster carers can come in, accepting a dog into their own home, and looking after it until its owner is settled and can take it back.

Once such foster carer, who the trust refers to only as Susan, has volunteered with the project since 2011.

She said: “I have met so many amazing dogs during my time working with Dogs Trust Freedom Project and would urge anyone that is interested in fostering a dog, to get in touch with the team.

“The average time the dogs spend with me is around 6 months. They are often worried when they first arrive but to see them develop into a confident and contented ‘guest’ is very rewarding.

“Whilst I never meet the owners of the dogs I foster, it’s wonderful to know that I am helping them leave a difficult situation, all whilst ensuring they have peace of mind that their dog is safe.”

Clare Kivlehan, head of outreach at the Dogs Trust, said:“The Freedom Project wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated team of foster carers like Susan, but we are always in need of more volunteers.

“The more foster carers we have on board, the more dogs and their owners we can help. For many people in a domestic abuse situation, their dog is often the reason why they feel they cannot flee.

“Knowing that their four legged friend is cared for in a loving home allows them the freedom they need to escape to safety.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, visit www.moretodogstrust.org.uk or call 0800 083 4322.

New Cape domestic violence shelter to open by September

"But some people won’t leave a domestic violence situation if they can’t take their pets with them. Along those lines, Independence House plans to allow survivors to bring their pets into the shelter."  

 

HYANNIS — A new shelter for survivors of domestic violence is expected to be open by September, according to Lysetta Hurge-Putnam, executive director of Independence House, the organization that recently won a state grant to support the facility.

The new shelter, which will open at an undisclosed location, is “part of our vision,” Hurge-Putnam said.

“We pretty much do everything related to domestic and sexual violence on the Cape,” including running support groups and court advocacy, Hurge-Putnam said. “Now we’re going to have a shelter.”

While Independence House secured a 10-year state commitment to run a shelter this spring, a domestic violence shelter in Falmouth is shutting down after failing to receive the funding. In their review of the Falmouth shelter’s application for the funding, state Department of Public Health officials cited concerns about safety and staffing. In addition, the proposal by Independence House represented a “stronger proposal for geographic area,” according to the review.

Cape Cod Shelter and Domestic Violence Services will close its seven-room facility this spring and lay off as many as 12 people who work there, interim executive director Liz Rabideau said late last month.

The Falmouth shelter was funded through and remaining open until June 30 “or until our last client is housed,” Rabideau said.

Staff at the shelter is working with Independence House to place clients, she said. As of Tuesday, there were two clients still at the shelter, according to clients and shelter officials.

“All of our clients have not left the shelter yet,” Rabideau said last week.

With its new funding, Independence House will expand the number of state-funded beds for survivors of domestic abuse from four to seven, according to state Department of Public Health officials.

When children are added to the mix, more than 14 people could be sheltered at a time, Hurge-Putnam said.

“We’ll be a fully inclusive shelter” that is open to survivors regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, Hurge-Putnam said.

There are plans to run the shelter, which will undergo renovations this summer, as individual units instead of traditional congregate housing, Hurge-Putnam said.

“We’ll offer a community” and security but with more privacy, she said.

“There’s some evidence people really talk a lot about having privacy in a shelter,” Hurge-Putnam said. “There’s a lot more research that’s emerged about what works in domestic violence (sheltering).”

There will less emphasis on rules and curfews and more emphasis on safety planning and empowerment, she said.

Along those lines, Independence House plans to allow survivors to bring their pets into the shelter, Hurge-Putnam said.

“That’s a big deal,” said Toni Troop, director of communications and development for Jane Doe Inc., a statewide coalition of domestic violence organizations.

“In most places the local domestic violence program will connect with a program that shelters the animal” but will not allow the pet into the human shelter, Troop said.

But some people won’t leave a domestic violence situation if they can’t take their pets with them, Hurge-Putnam said.

“It’s a new idea,” Troop said.

Hurge-Putnam, who is chairwoman of the Jane Doe Inc. board this year, always makes sure board members understand the challenges faced by organizations combating domestic violence in their communities, Troop said.

Independence House has received more than $408,000 in Department of Public Health funds for the shelter and raised additional private funds for the building’s renovation, Hurge-Putnam said.

“The shelter will be operational by September,” she said.

Cape Cod Shelter and Domestic Violence Services had the state contract for the past 10 years and had reapplied in January for another 10-year funding cycle. During fiscal 2017 the state had awarded the organization $236,403.

“We knew there had been some issues at the shelter,” Hurge-Putnam said about the Falmouth facility. “We went in to help them out.”

But Independence House also opted to compete for shelter money when it got the chance, Hurge-Putnam said.

“A window opened up in the state which doesn’t open for another 10 years,” she said. “It was now or 10 years down the road.”

Troop said Jane Doe Inc. appreciates the work of the Cape Cod Shelter and Domestic Violence Services, and called the new shelter contract awarded to Independence House “one of those shifts.”

Independence House has a track record of providing top-quality services, Troop said.

“We’re pleased to see their innovative work expand to this new area,” she said.

In addition to the shelter money, Independence House was awarded more than $600,000 in funding for a variety of programs, part of more than $34 million in state contracts awarded this year for programs that serve survivors of sexual and domestic violence, according to an April 28 statement from Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration.

In addition to the new shelter, Independence House is adding two more units to a four-unit housing stabilization program that provides housing for domestic violence survivors for two to three years, Hurge-Putnam said.

The new units will be up and running by July 1 in a different part of the Cape than where the current four-unit building is located, she said.

Independence House also runs a Safe Homes Network with four volunteers in the evenings and on weekends that offers temporary emergency shelter, Hurge-Putnam said.

Independence House, which has buildings in Hyannis, Falmouth and Orleans, as well as an office in Provincetown, offers a 24/7 rape crisis hotline, individual and community support groups, financial empowerment counseling, housing and shelter searches, and court advocacy for victims of sexual and domestic violence.

“The work we do with survivors is individualized,” Hurge-Putnam said. “We’re actually doing every part of the work connected to domestic and sexual violence.”

 

SPCA says some Sask. domestic violence victims staying to protect their pets

"Animals are being used as another way of power and control over the victims of domestic violence. Whether it's not allowing the person to buy dog food or threatening to harm the animal, saying that, 'If you leave, what's going to happen?'" - Leanne Sillers, SPCA animal safekeeping co-ordinator

 

Some domestic violence victims are staying in abusive homes because they fear for the safety of their pets if they leave, according to a study by the SPCA.

Between 2014 and 2016, the animal welfare service led a study into the extent of the problem in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan SPCA animal safekeeping co-ordinator Leanne Sillers said the study asked workers at "human services", including women's shelters and victim services, if they knew of victims whose pets had stopped them from fleeing domestic violence.

According to the study, about 77 per cent of those surveyed said that they did. 

"Animals are being used as another way of power and control over the victims of domestic violence," said Sillers.

"Whether it's not allowing the person to buy dog food or threatening to harm the animal, saying that, 'If you leave, what's going to happen?'"

The study was a partnership between the Saskatchewan SPCA, Stops to Violence, the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services, the University of Regina and the Ministry of Justice.

It was prompted by the results of a similar study by the SPCA in Alberta in 2012.

Sillers said the results confirm that the pet issue creates an extra barrier for victims. Her own personal research leads her to believe up to 50 per cent of domestic violence victims could be delaying their escape to protect their pets. 

"It's already challenging enough to make the decision to say, 'I'm not in a healthy relationship and how do I get out of this?'" said Sillers.

"Money, children are involved, and now you have, 'What am I going to do with my dog?'"

Sillers said victims who find themselves in this situation can get a referral from a social worker or police officer to have their pets housed in a shelter temporarily. The Saskatoon SPCA facility is among those that take referrals but Sillers suggested contacting the shelters directly for more information.

Transition housing, women's shelters and social support services do not currently allow animals in Saskatoon.

She said finding new homes for animals could be even more difficult in a farming province like Saskatchewan, where many people own larger animals such as horses and even herds of cattle. 

"It's not just a dog, it's not just a cat or a bird, it's somebody's, you know — that unconditional love and acceptance that the animals offer," said Sillers.

Her role at the SPCA is to research Saskatchewan services and make recommendations on how to address the issue.

"Ideally, it would be wonderful to have a shelter that takes women and their kids as well, that they can bring their animals as well," said Sillers.

"Whether that happens or not, I don't know."

 

More links from this article: 

Urge Congress to Pass Act That Would Protect Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has brought to attention a serious issue that affects both humans and animals alike: domestic violence.  According to their petition on Care2, one-third of victims of domestic violence delay leaving their situation because of fear of what the abuser may do to their animals. With the majority of these victims reporting that their abusers also targeted or even killed their pets, this fear is a traumatic reality.

According to the petition, only three percent of domestic violence shelters in the United States accept pets. With the majority of U.S. homes having a dog and/or cat as companion animals, this means too many women or men, and children are either forced to part with their beloved animals or feel they have to stay in an abusive situation in order to avoid parting with their pets. Some victims even live out of their cars and choose homelessness over having to relinquish their animals to a shelter. This should not have to be this way.

Luckily, the HSUS has a solution, but they need our help to make it become reality. According to HSUS, the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS) will “expand domestic violence protections to include pets and provide resources for victims to safely shelter pets from abuse.” The PAWS Act will also provide grant funding to domestic violence shelters who do accept animals, in addition to including any vet bills as part of restitution payments. Thirty-two states already have pet protection order laws in place that safeguard pets under restraining orders filed against domestic abusers. However, legislation must be made at the national level to further strengthen these laws protecting these victims.

Please take a moment to sign this petition and join The Humane Society in telling Congress to support the PAWS Act and help save both the human and animal victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence victims and their pets would be protected by PAWS Act

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KALAMAZOO, MI - U.S. Senator Gary Peters is working to expand protection of victims of domestic violence and their pets.

The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which Peters reintroduced in Congress earlier this year, would expand existing federal domestic violence protections to include threats or acts of violence against a victim's pet and force abusers to reimburse victims for any related veterinarian fees.

"Most people don't realize how widespread domestic violence is in our communities," Peters said.

The legislation would also provide grant funding to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence victims with pets.

"We want to take that control away from the abusers," Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller said.

Peters spoke about the legislation Tuesday afternoon at the YWCA Kalamazoo.

In Kalamazoo County, the YWCA Kalamazoo and the SPCA of Southwest Michigan have a partnership to help victims with pets who come to the shelter through the My Sister's House program.

"What we find is in many victims of abuse stay in an abusive relationship because they're afraid (for) their dog or their cat or their other pet," Peters said.

My Sister's house, created about three years ago, provides foster homes for pets, in any medical condition, free of charge, for victims who come to the YWCA Kalamazoo.

Katie Timber, executive director of the SPCA of Southwest Michigan, said the My Sister's House program has housed pets anywhere from three weeks to three months.

"Sadly, abusers also target the victims because of their pets and without that great partnership some of these women would never leave," Grace Lubwama, CEO of the YWCA, said.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), only 3 percent of domestic violence shelters across the country accept pets.

Cathy Brown, director of victim's services at the YWCA, said domestic violence victims "may not even reach out for help because they don't think there's any place to go, any place that will take their pet." 

Brown said around one in 10 victims who come through the YWCA for help mention abuse involving a pet. The YWCA Kalamazoo serves 800 women annually and is the only domestic violence shelter in Kalamazoo County.

Sen. Gary Peters in Kalamazoo to highlight domestic violence programs

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – U.S. Senator Gary Peters is highlighting domestic violence in Kalamazoo Tuesday.

Peters will be touring the YWCA of Kalamazoo's domestic violence shelter to learn more about their programs to assist domestic and sexual assault victims.

 

He is also holding a news conference to discuss his legislation aimed at protecting domestic violence victims and their pets.

Peters introduced the pet and women safety act earlier this year which provides funding to programs that offer shelter and housing assistance for victims with pets.

Roanoke County animal hospital offering free pet boarding to domestic violence victims

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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Victims of domestic violence typically have to act fast to escape their abuser, and tough choices must be made. Now, an animal hospital in Roanoke County is making that process a bit less difficult.

North Roanoke Veterinary Hospital advertises its boarding services right on the building. But it's its new offering that really goes above and beyond.

Pets bring a lot of joy to many and oftentimes the link pet and owner shares is stronger than glue. Few know that better than veterinarian Dr. Sharon Coleman.

"We're hoping that we can improve the bond between pet owners and their animals," Coleman, North Roanoke Veterinary Hospital owner, said.

Coleman wants to improve it by offering short-notice, free of charge pet boarding to domestic violence victims. After nearly three decades in practice, this is the answer to a personal call.

"I certainly can't house the people there in danger but I have the space to house dogs and cats," Coleman said.

"Somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of our clients have pets in the home and they want to do something about that," TAP Housing And Human Services Director Stacey Sheppard said.

 

Roanoke-based TAP helps domestic violence victims. It says people leaving pets is a barrier to escaping abuse.

"For some people that have limited resources and limited things, that for them might be the one thing that is truly important to them," Sheppard said.

Boarding like this isn't new, it's just usually not advertised. TAP will officially add it to its list of resources, bucking that trend.

"I have adequate boarding for my routine clients and I feel like I have the space for a spontaneous situation if it arises," Coleman said.

"For Dr. Coleman and her clinic to really step up and take kind of the lead and say this is what I want to do to help out it's huge," Sheppard said.

The animal hospital says it already has the licensing and paperwork needed to do this through its current operation. And when pets come, they'll get a full check-up. Depending on what vaccines or care they need, services will be done at little to no cost.

Domestic violence victims can find shelter for their pets

The meetings take place in unremarkable parking lots.

A woman arrives, sometimes with children in tow, unloading pet food, toys or a dog bed. She hands over the leash and signs some paperwork.

The handoffs are part of Noah's Rest, a program that shelters pets for people fleeing dangerous situations.

The program was created in 2012 by Deana Noonan, a professional dog trainer who said she was troubled after reading that abused people stay in relationships longer because of their pets. The Domestic Violence Awareness Project reports that as many as 65 percent of domestic violence victims delay leaving a dangerous situation because they worry about their pets.

"We've heard from some victims that they didn't leave for the fear that their abuser has either threatened to harm the pet or has harmed the pet," said Jill Verbrick, who works with victims at the Lake County State's Attorney's office, which refers people to Noah's Rest.

She added, "It's just another way of controlling and manipulating the victim."

So far, Noonan has helped six families with 12 pets in the Chicago area.

When Noah's Rest started, the first person she helped was a woman who wanted to escape an abusive relationship but didn't want to leave her two dogs.

"If there wasn't a place for the dogs, she didn't think she could leave," Noonan recalled. "She didn't know what she was going to do."

Domestic violence shelters might not accept pets. Friends or family who could keep the pet might be far away, or have children or allergies that limit their ability to help. People often can't afford a kennel.

"We want to make (the pets) as comfortable as possible," Noonan said.

After meeting the pet's owner in a neutral location, such as a police department or parking lot, Noonan finds out all about the pet, words it responds to and preferred food.

Sometimes she finds that the pets have been abused too.

Noonan says she often keeps in contact with owners while they seek a safe location, housing and a new source of income.

"Many times they have children, and the children miss the pet," Noonan said.

Deana Noonan and her dog, Journey, visit Faith Lutheran Church in Lake Forest. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

So far, Noah's Rest has only handled dogs and cats, but Noonan said she's open to other animals.

Advocacy groups like Women and Children's Horizons in Kenosha and A Safe Place in Zion, along with the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, refer clients to Noah's Rest.

Everything is free. The pet owner signs paperwork assigning temporary custody to Noah's Rest, and the pet then sees a veterinarian for a basic exam. The pet is taken to one of Noah's partnering pet-care facilities. The owner doesn't know where, for his or her and the pet's safety.

It is tough, Noonan said, for the owner to drive away.

"There is always that moment, and I think that we kind of get a catch in our throats, too, because we know that it's hard for these people," she said. "But at least they know that the goal is to be reunited."

The owners have 60 days to come back for their pet, however, Noah's Rest tries to be flexible in complex scenarios.

Noonan herself doesn't know the specifics of their situations. She doesn't need to, to help.

"They all take a piece of our hearts, these pets," she said.

Recently, Noonan reunited a domestic abuse victim with her cat.

"The cat would not stop meowing," Noonan said of the domestic shorthair. "It was like, 'You're back, you're back.'"

abowen@chicagotribune

Twitter @byalisonbowen

New pet fostering scheme launched for women experiencing domestic violence

A new service, The Freedom Project, launched today by Dogs Trust – the UK’s largest dog welfare charity – will open the door to freedom for thousands of London women, and their dogs, who are victims of domestic violence.

In the UK there are around 5.15 million households that own a dog1. Research has indicated2 that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence; men who are violent to women may threaten to harm or actually kill a beloved pet in order to intimidate their partner into obedience and silence, thereby using the pet to maintain power and control. Many women remain in a violent domestic situation simply for fear of what might happen to their pet if they flee without it, especially if it means having to separate children from their beloved family pet.

The Freedom Project is a pioneering pet fostering scheme for women going into refuges or temporary accommodation. It works by temporarily placing the dog at risk with a volunteer foster carer who will care for them in their own home until they can be safely reunited with their owner. During the foster placement the Freedom Project provides all pet food and veterinary treatment free of charge. Total anonymity is assured, dogs will not be fostered in the area where the owner is from and the carer who fosters the dog will not know who the owner is or where they live. Freedom Project staff provide help and support and each placement is monitored on a regular basis.

There are nearly 13 million incidents of domestic violence against women annually in the UK3 and two women are killed each week by a current or former partner.4

Clare Kivlehan, Freedom Project Manager, said:

“Unfortunately women often remain in a violent situation as they fear their partner will deliberately harm their pet if they leave; it often comes down to making the choice between your own safety and that of the dogs. The Freedom Project allows women in this awful situation to know that their beloved pet will be cared for and they can get out of the violent household and into safety.”

Sandra Horley OBE, Chief Executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, said:

Many women and children have been forced to stay with violent partners because they can’t leave their pets behind – and in some instances violent men are also violent towards the family pets.  One woman I met told me that her husband often used the dog as a weapon of control and in a rage threw their beloved dog off the balcony of their high rise flat.   Many women have stood by helplessly while their partners kick and torture family pets.  If a man can hit an animal the woman is bound to think “it could be me next”.  With the Freedom Project only a phone call away women and children can now be sure that their pets can also be rescued.  Women, children and their pets all have a right to live in safety.

Anyone who feels they need to use the service should contact the Freedom Project on 0800 298 9199, email freedomproject@dogstrust.org.uk or write to Freedom Project, PO Box 50208, London EC1V 7XP.

Dogs Trust is also urging anyone who thinks that they could help and become a Foster Carer to contact the Freedom Project. Applicants will need to be able to look after the dog during the day, live in the Greater London Area and have experience in caring for dogs.

If any women feel they are suffering domestic violence they should call the Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge. The freephone helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and all calls are confidential. Or visit www.refuge.org.uk for further information.

NB. The Freedom Project is launched in the Greater London area and will be rolled out in other areas of theUK at a later date.