Marking the launch of the vet campaign are (l-r) Colin-Dobinson and Antonia Litten, with Danaher's Katie Walmsley and LauraHoward

Vets warned that people who injure pets often commit domestic violence at home

As a volunteer for Essex Crimestoppers, I provide PR support for this very worthwhile, independent charity and was delighted when the latest press release received national coverage in the Mail on Sunday It also appeared in newspapers and on local radio across the county.


Launching the new campaign: l-r Colin Dobinson and Antonia Litten, with Danaher’s Katie Walmsley and Laura Howard.

Vets across Essex are being asked to watch pets for signs of domestic abuse.

A new campaign, which includes posters and pocket cards, was launched by independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers’ Essex committee, at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home near Wethersfield.

The charity says research shows that dogs, cats or other pets owned by victims of domestic abuse can also be abused by the perpetrator – and it is vets, veterinary nurses and receptionists who are on the front line when it comes to dealing with or potentially identifying such cases.

Crimestoppers’ Essex committee’s development leader, Colin Dobinson, said: “If an animal has suffered abuse or non-accidental injury, it could mean that the family is at risk of violence or domestic abuse.

“Cases of animal or human abuse may not be common but it is vital that every opportunity is taken to help the victim – human or animal.

“Veterinary teams may have an important role to play in what could develop into a complex investigation involving different organisations. Our pocket guide, along with the Animal Welfare Foundation’s ‘Comprehensive Guidance for the Veterinary Team’, will help vet teams take appropriate action when faced with a suspected case of non-accidental injury.”

The campaign – which is being run in association with the Links Group, a multi-agency group that promotes safety among children, animals and adults – has been funded by the Percy Hoskins Award.

Information packs have been sent to vets across the county by the Animal Welfare Foundation, and the British Veterinary Association, while the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have also lent their support.

John Kirkman, general manager at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, which takes in around 700 unwanted animals a year, said: “Sadly, we see a number of cases where pets have come to us for rehoming because of incidents of abuse and we spend a great deal of time and effort helping with their recovery and rebuilding their trust.

“Any campaign which urges vets to be on the lookout for non-accidental injuries or suspicious has to be welcomed and if that also helps create awareness of wider possible domestic violence in the home, then we are pleased to be able to lend our support.”

Crimestoppers, which is not part of the police, is an independent crime-fighting charity. It offers an anonymous and secure 24/7 service for third party information about domestic abuse or any other crimes, including animal abuse. Calls cannot be traced and callers are not asked to provide their personal details, give a statement or go to court. All information given to Crimestoppers is completely anonymous through the 0800 555 111 phone number or online at and is passed to the appropriate police force or other agency.