Wendy Chamberlain MP joined fellow MPs and members of the House of Lords to discuss how the Cats Protection is supporting victim-survivors flee domestic abuse.
The UK’s biggest cat charity hosted the parliamentary reception to raise awareness of its Lifeline service, which provides free and confidential cat fostering to enable owners to escape domestic abuse.
Findings reveal that 78% of domestic abuse professionals surveyed had encountered cases where cats were targeted by and 39% have encountered cases where a cat or kitten has been killed by a perpetrator of domestic abuse.
Wendy Chamberlain MP said:
“These figures highlight how vital this service is for the wellbeing of both cats and their owners, ensuring that those facing domestic abuse can flee knowing that their pets will be safe.
“I was glad to attend the Cats Protection Lifeline Services event to find out more about how they provide these services and I hope that these services can be replicated in Scotland soon as they are extremely important.”
Cats Protection’s Lifeline Manager, Amy Hyde said:
“We were pleased to welcome so many politicians to our reception to discuss this incredibly important issue. Sadly, far too many people feel trapped living with an abuser out of fear for the safety of their pet.
“Perpetrators of domestic abuse will use their partner or family member’s love for their cat as a tool to coerce and control them. We’ve worked on cases where a perpetrator has physically abused the cat as well as controlling the owner’s access to finances and vet care, meaning that many cats are left with untreated injuries and health conditions.
“Using a beloved cat as a tool for coercive control can have a huge impact on those experiencing domestic abuse and makes it even more challenging for them to leave if they are worried about what will happen to their cat if left behind.