- To design a project that shifts the focus from perpetrators to victims/survivors and the bonds they have with their animal companions;
- To understand the importance of animals in the lives of those fleeing domestic violence;
- To understand that, and how, animals are affected by violence too;
- To understand the importance of housing animal and human survivors together;
- To highlight the ways animals help women and children in their post trauma recovery, through, for example, offering emotional safety, unconditional love, and open companionship;
- And to achieve this in a way that engages people, gets them talking about domestic violence and animal abuse rather than turning away from it. This last aim underpins the art exhibition and seems already to be working if early press coverage is anything to go by.
Carley Milich from Northern Domestic Violence Services spoke about her work on the project, with the children who contributed art work. She explained how animals were important to them and to their recovery post-abuse.
Minister Zoe Bettison spoke about the importance of understanding what matters to women leaving domestic violence so we can be more readily able to help them, before formally opening the exhibition.
The day felt to us like a success. We met some great and passionate people working in the area of DV and animal welfare service provision. We received great feedback about the presentation and about the exhibit with lots of comments about how beautiful the photos are. It felt rejuventating to be around so many people all wanting to learn more and do more for women and animals affected by domestic violence. Honourable mention has to go to the lovely Betty, the assistance dog, who snored loudly, but adorably, all through Nik’s talk!
A full news story on this issue and exhibition can be seen here (Australia Wide 10/6/17, starts c. 15 minutes in).
For further information about the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com