The Challenge

The Challenge

The Cycle of Abuse and the Animal Abuse – Human Violence Connection

“Research shows that children who live with or witnesses abuse in the home are more likely to repeat the abuse as adults; creating a cycle of abuse.”

Until the past 20 years, the connection between violence against animals and violence against humans went unrecognized. Now a growing body of research has shown that people who abuse animals rarely stop there. It is also a reliable predictor of violence against people after a young abuser grows up.

Children learn about abuse by being its victim. They often fail to develop empathy, and without this key quality they cannot recognize their victims’ pain. When they begin to “act out” their abuse trauma, children first target animals. As adults, they find new victims among the most vulnerable–children, partners, and the elderly.

Consider the following facts:

  • The FBI sees animal cruelty as a predictor of violence against people and considers past animal abuse when profiling serial killers.
  • In assessing youth at risk of becoming violent, the U.S. Department of Justice stresses a history of animal abuse.
  • More than 80 percent of family members being treated for child abuse also had abused animals. In two-thirds of these cases, an abusive parent had killed or injured a pet. In one-third of the cases, a child victim continued the cycle of violence by abusing a pet.

 

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The Humane Education Connection is a non-profit organization that strives to reduce the abuse of children and animals through educational...

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