In April 2022, Judge Jennifer Ranji of Family Court organized a half-day training event which brought together attorneys and non attorneys in the domestic violence, animal welfare, and child welfare sectors to learn how these cross-sector professionals can intervene in the former to prevent the latter. “As a Family Court Judge, I believe having more information about the risks present in a family unit leads to better decisions. Knowing about the links between animal abuse and other forms of abuse and about the important role pets play in the families we serve can help each of us and our respective organizations identify earlier interventions to avoid harm and achieve better outcomes for families.” said Judge Ranji.
“Judges and prosecuting attorneys are playing an increasingly important role in preventing abuse of women, children and vulnerable adults by focusing more attention on animal cruelty as a warning sign of other family and community violence,” said speaker Phil Arkow, Coordinator of the National LINK Coalition, an advocacy group that focuses on the connection between animal abuse and violence among people. “We are actively training attorneys and judges nationwide to learn about the co-occurrence of animal cruelty and family violence in the cases that come before them and to understand their opportunity to address harm and promote safety for all members of the family. We are extremely pleased to bring this training to Delaware in hopes that lawmakers and the courts will ‘connect the dots’ and recognize that when animals are abused people are at risk, and when people are abused animals are at risk.”
The training event in April led to the creation of the Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence Link Committee in September 2022. This committee brings together representatives from Family Court, Animal Welfare, Child Welfare, the General Assembly, the Department of Justice, advocates and community partners to examine the link between animal abuse and domestic violence, the ways that these intersections can be recognized by service providers in each area, and ways to more effectively address these issues.
Angela Seguin, Executive Director
See calendar for meeting dates