Violence to animals and interpersonal violence in Spain: first results

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en Violencia hacia animales-General.

Querol, N. Violence to animals and interpersonal violence in Spain: first results.
Coloquios Internacionales sobre Cerebro y Agresión (CICA). XXXIII CICA Conference violence is not biologically determined The Seville Statement on Violence twenty-five years later. Coloquios Internacionales sobre Cerebro y Agresión (CICA) Roma, Septiembre 2011.


Núria Querol i Viñas
BSc, MD Founder of GEVHA Grupo para el Estudio de la Violencia Hacia Humanos y Animales

Violence to animals and interpersonal violence in Spain: first results

Over the past 25 years, researchers and professionals in a variety of human services and animal welfare disciplines have established significant correlations between animal abuse, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse and other forms of violence.
There is virtually no data in Spain regarding animal abuse and violent crime. We took a sample of 24 male inmates of the Prison of Barcelona to evaluate psychopathy
and other possible indicators for risk assessment such as cruelty to animals. We administered the PCL:SV and  RACA (Reports of Animal Care and Abuse). 23,5% of the inmates had a history of complete Mc Donald triad (cruelty to animals, enuresis and pyromania), 65% presented incomplete triad (one/two items). The descriptive analysis of the items of the triad gives the following percentages:Animal abuse 41,7 %; pyromania: 71% and enuresis: 58,8 % of the subsample.
Given the pronostic value of this triad (Pincus, 2001): cranial trauma+ paranoia+ history of psychological/physical/sexual abuse (as victims) it is remarkable that 41% of the inmates presented the complete triad and 29,4% one or two items. It is also interestig
to point out the fact that some sexual aggressors reported for the first time, having been sexually molested during childhood or adolescence.In the case studies we have
observed conduct disorder and important lack of empathy,specially in the individuals with a high rate of violence in their felonies including animal abuse. Both triads may be useful to evaluate the dangerousness or can be an important indicator for risk assessment.
Regarding violence to animals within the context of domestic violence, previous studies reveal that 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals. 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred
in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically
control and coerce them.
Mistreating animals is a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe.The Comission against Family and Gender Violence of the Primary Care Centers of Sant Cugat and Valldoreix is developing a Multidisciplinary Program to Attend Women victims of domestic violence and their companion animals. We have established collaboration with SPCAs Fundación Altarriba and Cau Amic to offer shelter for their companion animals in case it is needed. For that purpose, we are asking screening key questions in the emergency room or in the facility where the woman reports violence.
In a year-time, we have identified 22 women who lived animals and 19 of them reported the animal being abused as well. In two cases, the abuser chose the breed (german shepherd and bull terrier) and left the animal with the woman when he left home. These dogs were poorly socialized and the women felt unable to positive-train them, in a parallel way to what was happening with their children.
In one case it was necessary to shelter 3 dogs because the woman emergency shelter does not allow companion animals. In one case, a 8-year-old child who is being abused by the father killed a companion fish and tried to kill a canary.
He also presents enuresis, fascination for fire and bullying.
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