The RSPCA Pets in Crisis program will be expanded into the Great Southern and South-West regions as part of the WA Government’s 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women.

The program offers victims of domestic and family violence with a temporary home to place their animals while they focus on their own safety.

A study showed that 35 per cent of women delayed seeking refuge from a violent situation due to concerns for their pet’s welfare.

Simone McGurk, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister, said the program not only ensure animals are protected, but encourages women who are experiencing family and domestic violence to seek help.

“Pets play such an important role in our families, but unfortunately perpetrators can exploit that connection with threats and intimidation, which can prevent women from fleeing a violent household.”

Lynne Bradshaw, RSPCA WA Chair, congratulated the State Government on its commitment to expanding the program.

“Domestic violence affects all family members, including pets. Pets in Crisis not only gives human victims peace of mind about their animals, it also provides a safe haven for the pets of violent households, who are often abused or threatened with abuse.

“RSPCA WA is aware of the increased number of calls in the region from refuges looking to support their clients who are pet owners, and from women themselves who refuse to leave a violent situation unless they can take their pets with them.”