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Exploring the link between pet abuse and controlling behaviors in violent relationships.
Domestic violence is not as simple as one partner physically harming another. Instead, it consists of a complex range of controlling behaviors including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic maltreatment as well as isolation, male privilege, blaming, intimidation, threats, and minimizing/denying behaviors. In addition to the controlling behaviors reported by women seeking shelter from violent relationships, a growing body of research indicates some individuals who abuse their intimate partner also abuse their pets. This study explores these connections using reports of 1,283 female pet owners seeking refuge from their male batterer in a domestic violence shelter. Findings indicate that batterers who also abuse their pet (a) use more forms of violence and (b) demonstrate greater use of controlling behaviors than batterers who do not abuse their pets. Likewise, positive correlations are found between specific controlling behaviors and cruelty to pets. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Pub Type(s)Journal Article