The Link Sverige och Svenska Djurskyddsföreningen arrangerade den 25 maj en heldag om våld mot djur och våld i nära relationer med en föreläsning av Phil Arkow, initiativtagare till The Link i USA.

Arkow visar på ett samband mellan våldsutövning mot djur och personer som senare döms för våldsbrott mot människor. I nära relationer kan våld mot djuret användas som ett sätt att hota och kontrollera. I familjer där djuret är utsatt är det stor sannolikhet att andra familjemedlemmar är utsatta, och där andra familjemedlemmar är utsatta är det risk att djuret är utsatt. Dessa samband benämns The Link.

Phil Arkow efterlyser samarbete mellan veterinärer, socialtjänst, djurskyddsinspektörer och polis för att tidigt kunna förhindra våldsspiralen. Veterinärer och djurskyddsinspektörer är ofta de första som får indikationerna på att våld förekommer i en familj. Våld mot djur, antingen om man ser det hos barn eller i familjen, är ofta den första indikatorn på att det inte står rätt till.

Arkow menar att människovårdande yrken, som socialarbetare, bör vara uppmärksamma på om våld mot djur förekommer och ha kunskap om The Link. En studie från USA visar att 82 procent av de familjer där våld mot djur förekom, också hade ärenden hos socialtjänsten.

Våld mot djur inom en relation gör att våld normaliseras som en del av familjens vardag. Ett problem uppstår när en våldsutsatt kvinna försöker lämna mannen men inte kan ta med sig djuret. Hot om våld mot djuret kan då användas av mannen för att få kvinnan att komma tillbaka. I en studie berättar en kvinna, som inte ville överge sin hund för att komma in på ett skyddat boende, för Phil Arkow att ”I’ve loved this dog longer than any relationship I’ve ever had”.

Phil Arkow anser att ingen skillnad bör göras mellan våld mot människor och våld mot djur utan menar att i ett gott samhälle bör vi arbeta mot alla former av våld. Han menar att när djur är utsatta är barn och partnern i riskzonen, när barn plågar djur kan de själva ha blivit utsatta och, barn som är våldsamma mot djur är en varningssignal att barnet kan bli en våldsam vuxen och sätta både människor och djur i risk.

Arkow menar vidare att svårigheten med att komma åt våldsbrott mot djur är att djur fortfarande ses som ägodelar och att brott mot djur inte prioriteras högt nog.
> Djurens Rätt

The FBI Animal Cruelty Database 

On January 1, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began tracking crimes against animals via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Animal cruelty crimes are now listed in the database as Group A offenses — the same category as arson, rape and murder. This is the first federal effort to track animal crimes, and it’s a major step forward. The NIBRS database will now include all animal cruelty cases investigated by participating law enforcement, which will fall under four categories: gross neglect, torture, organized abuse (such as dogfighting and cockfighting), and sexual abuse (bestiality). 

Finally, there will be a national, authoritative resource for animal cruelty information. LCA’s campaign is targeted at increasing participation from citizens and law enforcement for the database to succeed.
> The Link

Animal Abuse Can Be ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ Indicator of Interpersonal Violence, Experts Say

The intentional harming and killing of animals is often tied to violence against humans, and knowledge of this connection can be used to improve anti-cruelty and public safety efforts, according to experts in law, psychology and veterinary forensics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The link between animal cruelty and domestic violence was one topic at the 10th Annual Veterinary Forensic Sciences Conference in New York City last month. During the session, ASPCA supervisor of forensic sciences in New York City, Dr. Robert Reisman, and ASPCA legal advocacy counsel Elizabeth Brandler, discussed over 65 NYC cases from 2014 to 2016 in which domestic abuse and animal abuse were connected.

“Animal abuse is often referred to as the tip of the iceberg and can be a glimpse into other family dynamics that may be at play,” Brandler said during the session. “This can also serve as a major risk factor for committing abuse against a partner.”

Animals can also be used as a tool to threaten and control an abused partner, Brandler said, pointing out that the power and control wheel, a tool that was developed in the 1980s to identify the tactics used in an abusive relationship, includes harm against pets.

“The ‘Using Intimidation’ piece of the wheel includes harming or killing a pet and saying ‘next time it will be you,’ or targeting pets, or friends and family who try to aid in the escape of the victim,” she explained.

Reisman told Forensic Magazine that the frequency of the co-occurrence of animal cruelty and domestic violence in New York City has come to light after an increase in caseload following the partnership of the ASPCA and the New York Police Department in 2014. He said they now see such cases about every other week. During the conference session, he made note of his increased awareness of this link and the role that animal advocates have in ending all types of violence.

“What I’ve learned working at the ASPCA and doing forensic work is that I can have an impact on society—with the knowledge I have as a veterinarian I can actually have an impact on violence in society, which is a major worldwide health problem,” Reisman said.

The link between animal cruelty and human violence has been the subject of research for decades, with several studies showing that those who are violent toward animals have also been violent toward humans, and vice versa. For example, a 2001 to2004 study by the Chicago Police Department found that 65 percent of those arrested for animal crimes had also been arrested for battery against a person. A 2014 University of Tennessee study similarly found that 41 percent of a sample of men who had been arrested for domestic violence had committed animal abuse during their adulthood, compared with 1.5 percent of men in the general population.

Research also suggests a link between adolescent animal cruelty and later violence. In 1996, FBI Special Agent Alan Brantley told researcher Randall Lockwood, who is currently the senior vice president of forensic sciences at the ASPCA, that FBI interviews conducted with 36 convicted multiple murderers showed nearly half had tortured animals during their adolescence.

Lockwood, who specializes in forensic psychology and the connection between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, told Forensic Magazine that law enforcement and courts have begun to acknowledge the link, and that this acknowledgement can bolster intervention and prevention efforts.

“What we found is most law enforcement who care about animals have already made that connection in their own minds. People who hurt animals are not nice people,” he noted. “We do spend a lot of time dealing with intervention and prevention programs as well, as far as (animal cruelty) being a potential indicator of future problems—that’s something that the courts seem to be very receptive to. If we can intervene at an earlier age, at an earlier stage, the idea is hopefully we’re more likely to have some success.”

Another response to the connection between animal abuse and interpersonal violence has been the strengthening of animal cruelty laws. During a conference session on the history of animal law in New York and the United States, lawyer Stacy Wolf, who is the senior vice president of the ASPCA’s anti-cruelty group, credited increased acknowledgement of the connection during the late 1990s with the passing of felony anti-cruelty laws in several states, including New York. She noted testimony by Brantley at a 1998 congressional hearing in which he said, “Violence against animals is violence and when it is present it is (…) synonymous with a history of violence.”

“While many people in our field felt they knew that a long time ago, it didn’t gain widespread acceptance really until around this time,” Wolf said. “I believe that even states that had not passed felony cruelty laws—after this (research) came out—did pass them. In New York state, it is the express reason why in 1999 we got a felony cruelty law passed.”

This knowledge continues to have an impact in the form of several recent law enforcement and legislative efforts. Last year, the FBI began including animal crimes in their National Incident-Based Reporting System, which the bureau said could help them begin to identify patterns of animal cruelty and its relation to human crimes. Additionally, a proposed law that tackles both domestic abuse and animal abuse, the Pet and Woman Safety (PAWS) Act, which would criminalize targeting a domestic partner’s pet and establish a grant program to help house and provide veterinary care to the pets of domestic violence victims, was reintroduced in Congress this year with bipartisan support.
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> Forensic Psychology

Hunting Linked To Psychosexual Inadequacy & The 5 Phases Of A Hunter’s Life Of Sexual Frustration

In his book, What Is Sport: A Controversial Essay About Why Humans Play Sports, social psychologist Rob Alpha explains how researchers with the Genetic Economic Analytics Group found the neurophysiological link between sex and a man’s desire to hunt. It turns out the same regions of the brain that are activated in the sex drive and orgasm are also activated by the compulsion to hunt and harvest animals. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger (1893-1990), who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1981, and is the namesake of the Menninger School of Psychiatry, wrote extensively about the Erotic Sadistic Motivation Theory of sport hunting. “Sadism may take a socially acceptable form [such as deer hunting and deer stalking] and other varieties of so-called ‘sport,’” he writes. “These all represent the destructive and cruel energies of man directed toward more helpless creatures.”

In the groundbreaking 1948 book, Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, which remains the most authoritative survey of abnormal psychology (renowned for its comprehensiveness, balance of theory and practice, strong research base, clinical sensitivity, and which is also updated annually), the authors state, “Perhaps more directly relevant are experiences in which individual infliction of pain on an animal or another person has given rise to sexual excitement. We have noted elsewhere the connection between strong emotional and sexual stimulation.”

Menninger’s theory was later expanded by other leaders in the field of psychology, including Dr. Joel R. Saper (University of Michigan) who theorizes that hunting “may reflect a profound yet subtle psychosexual inadequacy.” While clinical psychologist Margaret Brooke-Williams adds, “Hunters are seeking reassurance of their sexuality. The feeling of power that hunting brings temporarily relieves this sexual uneasiness.”

During the fall season across North America hunters reach peak “buck fever,” and clinicians report that incidences of domestic violence and wife-beating always peak the day before each species of hunting season opens. If we could peer inside the unconscious mind of the hunter, we would find a Pandora’s Box of repressed sexual issues. In Killing The Female: The Psychology of the Hunt, author Merritt Clifton writes:
“Whether or not hunters shoot deer to demonstrate sexual potency or out of sexual frustration,
in symbolic lieu of raping and killing women, there can be little doubt that as a social ritual,
much hunting is all about killing the feminine in the hunter’s own self.”
> Read more here