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Giving Victims a Voice

Written by a behavioral and social scientist and a retired Boston law enforcement officer, Silent Victims: Recognizing and Stopping Abuse of the Family Pet takes a comprehensive look at domestic violence affecting companion animals. Aimed at law enforcement and humane officers, counselors, family therapists, and mental health professionals—along with “anyone committed to stop abuse of the victims who have no voice to speak for themselves”—the book lays out the problem and potential approaches to solving it, chapter by chapter.

Authors Pamela Carlisle-Frank and Tom Flanagan make the case for why stopping animal abuse is critical, even as violence against humans continues. Citing the fact that children who witness abuse of their pets are not only more likely to become abusers but are also likely to develop an early mistrust in the social systems that should help them, the authors point out the close link between human well-being and animal well-being. “In fact, helping animal victims can actually make helping their human counterparts more effective,” they write.

The book includes discussions of where victims come from and covers trends within abusive home environments; traits of batterers; animal abuse by children and adolescents; strategies for addressing abuse created by severe neglect; the psychology of hoarders and methods of intervention; and cross-agency approaches to combating the problem. Drawing on their backgrounds, the authors often provide professional and personal insights into these issues, but they also rely on scientific studies to back up their own research and experiences.

Silent Victims (University Press of America, $39.95) is available from major retailers.


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