“Often pets are also abused and a partner will threaten to kill them if they are left behind, so it prevents women from leaving,” said Penny Ogden from Vinnies Women’s Crisis Centre.
She was speaking to members of the Catholic Women’s League after they donated a cheque for $3250 last month.
The money raised from a film morning will go towards new pet enclosures at the centre which receives funding from Housing SA in the same way that motels are funded for providing crisis accommodation.
The difference, she said, was that motels won’t take pets and this is a disincentive for women leaving violent situations.
The centre has 20 bedrooms, with a single room accommodating a woman and three children, and has been running at about 96 per cent capacity since opening seven months ago.
While one building is ‘pet free’, there are 10 rooms where pets are allowed but they also need to be accommodated in outside enclosures when the women are off-site.
Ms Ogden told the CWL meeting that there were four dogs and three cats currently at the centre but “the word is spreading” and she expected numbers to continue to build.
She pointed out that in the past seven months there had been no deaths from domestic violence in SA while in the previous year there had been 10.
“The feedback from women is that this is somewhere they can call home, they feel comfortable and cared for…a lot of women have returned,” she said.
“That’s why the inclusiveness of pets is so important.”
The pet enclosures are being built for free by students from St Patrick’s Technical College, enabling Vinnies to put the CWL donation towards materials.
CWL Adelaide Archdiocese president Carol Ganley said for women to be able to bring their pets with them to a safe place was “such a worthy cause”.
“It must be so important too for a child to know they can have their pet with them,” she said.
“This donation is about women helping women and we would love to help in whatever way we can.”Jump to next article