A Litigation Article from All-Creatures.org

Virginia Bench Guide for Addressing the Link betweeen Animal Abuse and Human Abuse

From NationalLinkCoalition.org
December 2022

“When animals are abused, people are at risk; when people are abused, animals are at risk.”
~ Phil Arkow, International expert on the link between animal cruelty and other crimes

National Link Coalition

The Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence Issues in Virginia’s Courts has published a handy two-page guide for the Commonwealth’s jurists explaining the significance of how animal abuse can be Linked with domestic, child and elder abuse and how these concepts can be applicable in family law and animal cruelty cases. The Bench Guide includes summary statistics of animal abuse’s Links with other forms of family violence and how juvenile animal cruelty can be a warning sign of other violence.

The Bench Guide includes factors for judges to consider when faced with potential animal abuse, including:

  • Knowing the relevant sections of Virginia’s Code addressing animals, animal cruelty, and protection-from-abuse orders.
  • Becoming familiar with the common signs of animal neglect and resources for pets in homes experiencing domestic violence.
  • Questions to ask in any family law case about the presence and welfare of animals in the home.
  • Screening animal cruelty cases for possible abuse to humans in the home, and screening family violence cases for possible animal abuse.
  • Pet-responsive measures when determining children’s living arrangement and trauma-informed

The Bench Guide was created by Michelle Welch, of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office; Hon. Constance Frogale, of Alexandria District Court; and Hon. H. Lee Chitwood, of Pulaski County District Court. The National Link Coalition’s Phil Arkow provided technical assistance on the project.


See the ENTIRE BENCH GUIDE HERE. Please share!

Return to Litigation Articles
Read more at Companion Animal Care