Over the past few years, we have written blog posts highlighting pet fostering schemes that have been launched to support those experiencing domestic abuse.
It has recently been announced that the Cats Protection will be introducing their Paws Protect initiative in East Anglia – mirroring Dog’s Trust’s Freedom Programme that offers a similar service for dogs.
This is excellent news and will undoubtedly help to break down barriers for those experiencing domestic abuse, helping them to access support.
The Paws Protect initiative provides foster care for cats whilst their owner gets support or is in a refuge where pets are not allowed. It gives the survivor the peace of mind knowing that their cat is being well looked after whilst they are receiving support, then they are able to be reunited once it is safe to do so.
The initiative had been rolled out in other areas of the country but had not reached East Anglia yet until now. As part of the set up of the scheme in the East, Cats Protection are looking for volunteers to provide foster care for cats in their homes, with all expenses covered for foster carers.
Placements are expected to last between 5-8 months and carers will receive full support from the Cats Protection team throughout.
More information about Paws Protect and how to get involved can be found on the Cats Protection website.
This isn’t the first pet fostering scheme to be introduced in East Anglia, with the Dog’s Trust running an identical service to support dogs.
You may have seen us mention the Freedom Project in previous posts to our blog. The scheme works in exactly the same way and allows owners to get support while their dog is placed in foster care.
There is also the “Pet Retreat” scheme run by the RSPCA, which we have used in the past to provide foster homes for the pets of people who are experiencing domestic abuse.
It is positive that more and more projects have been launched, helping to break down barriers for those looking to access support.
Importance of Pet Fostering
There are many barriers to leaving a relationship, including money worries, housing, family ties, or not wanting to take children away from their school and any friends that they have made.
Pets are another barrier, and many people will be reluctant to leave their pets behind, either because they do not want to be separated from them or are concerned how the perpetrator may treat them.
As a result, some people may stay in their relationship, potentially putting themselves at greater risk of serious harm.
Fortunately, an increasing number of fostering schemes have been introduced in recent years to help to break down these barriers, ensuring the safety of both the person and pets. They provide a lifeline for many people, meaning they do not have to give up their beloved pet whilst they receive support.
Leeway is an independent domestic abuse charity. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or have concerns about someone else, call our support line on 0300 561 0077 for confidential advice.