Scottish SPCA and University of Edinburgh raise awareness of link between animal cruelty and human violence at Edinburgh conference

Monday, September 23, 2019
Veterinary Practice

A conference hosted by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Edinburgh has cast a light on the link between animal cruelty and human violence

The event brought together over 150 professionals who work with young people and animals, mental health teams, the NHS, Police Scotland and many more. The audience learned about the significance of behaviours that cause concern, how reports of cruelty can play an important role in assessments of children experiencing difficulties, and how animal cruelty might be an indicator of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as domestic abuse.

Along with experts from the Scottish SPCA and the University of Edinburgh, speakers at the event included CEO of WAVE Trust, George Hosking OBE, the Dog’s Trust Veterinary and Campaigns Director, Paula Boyden and Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, Professor Cathy Dwyer. The guest keynote speaker was educator, author and co-founder of the USA National Link Coalition, Phil Arkow.

University of Edinburgh Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology, at the department of Clinical and Health Psychology Jo Williams said, “Childhood animal cruelty is an important indicator of childhood difficulties and we need to take a trauma-informed approach to supporting vulnerable children and reducing cruelty.

“The conference highlighted animal cruelty as a cross-profession societal issue. We need to focus on what we can all do within our professions to promote both animal welfare and young people’s health, safety and development."

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