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Animal abuse in the context of adult intimate partner violence: A systematic review


Cleary, M and Thapa, DK and West, S and Westman, M and Kornhaber, R, Animal abuse in the context of adult intimate partner violence: A systematic review, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 61 pp. 1-17. ISSN 1359-1789 (2021) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2021 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.avb.2021.101676


This systematic review focused on animal cruelty in abusive adult intimate partner relationships with a specific focus on the prevalence, motivations, and impact of animal abuse on victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the pets involved. Peer-reviewed research articles were sourced from online databases PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus and PsycInfo in July 2020. Overall, 427 records were retrieved, of which 35 articles from 30 studies were included in this review. Relevant data were extracted, with results presented as a narrative summary. The findings showed that the prevalence of animal abuse is high in households with intimate partner violence (range: 21%89%) and there is a significant relationship between intimate partner violence and animal abuse. Both are often perpetrated concurrently, with animal abuse used as a mechanism to control the partner and facilitate intimate partner violence. Animal abuse affected a victim's decision to leave the abusive relationship and seek support and had an ongoing psychological impact on both animal and human victims. The findings have practical implications for organizations, professionals and researchers working in the field of intimate partner violence and animal abuse.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:animal abuse, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, pets, systematic review
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
UTAS Author:Thapa, DK (Mr Deependra Thapa)
UTAS Author:West, S (Dr Sancia West)
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, R (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
ID Code:147549
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2021-11-08
Last Modified:2021-12-21
Downloads:10 View Download Statistics

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