Protection of horses for victims of domestic violence

Protection of horses for victims of domestic violence

Many families experiencing domestic violence are unable to escape abusive homes as they have no way of knowing if their animals will be safe.

But CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains will soon be able to offer free horse agistment, so women experiencing domestic violence can escape knowing their horses will be safe.

CatholicCare received a $35,000 Pets and Animal Welfare Support (PAWS) grant from the NSW Government to build fencing and stables for horse agistment.

CatholicCare’s Community Engagement Manager Celia Vagg said there is currently no place in the Sydney basin and surrounding regions where people fleeing domestic and family violence can agist their horses without charge. They would either have to leave their horses or travel very far away to leave them somewhere safe.

‘We provide a number of services to support people, including women and families experiencing or escaping from domestic violence,’ Celia said ‘We also provide horse agistment, so we are perfectly placed to expand our agistment service so we can offer this for free to women escaping domestic violence who need somewhere safe for their horses.

‘We are thrilled to receive this grant from the NSW Government and look forward to starting work on the fencing and stables.’

Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies MP said domestic violence rates in Western Sydney continue to shock our community.

‘We know perpetrators often use pets as a form of coercive control designed to torment victims,’ Mrs Davies said.

‘This grant fills a gap in the existing services in Sydney as there had not been a service to safely relocate horses. This funding will allow women and children with horses to escape an abusive home and know that their companion animal will be taken care of.’

Celia said that once the agistment service is available, it will be promoted through women’s shelters, legal, counselling, housing and community services who may have clients in need of horse agistment.

Photo: Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies MP with CatholicCare Executive Director Peter Loughnane and Fr Fernando.