Companion animals and the fight against domestic violence


Companion animals and the fight against domestic violence

29 June 2023
There is a clear correlation between domestic violence and violence against companion animals: abuse of pets by perpetrators can be used to exert power over the victim. Training the competent authorities on the complex dynamics of abusive relationships is crucial to the protection of all victims, including companion animals.

Following the adoption in March 2022 by the European Commission of a  legislative proposal to enshrine minimum standards in EU law on the criminalisation of certain forms of domestic and gender-based violence, to improve access to justice, protection and support for victims, to ensure coordination between relevant services and to prevent these types of crime, a new historic step was taken yesterday.

One year and three months later, the many compromised amendments were voted  at a joint meeting of the European Parliament’s FEMM (Women’s Rights and Gender Equality) and LIBE (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) Committees with the aim of establishing a legal instrument dealing specifically with violence against women and domestic violence at EU level.

The future at EU level in this area looks promising, not only for women and victims of domestic violence but also for their companion animals that from now on, will receive special attention in the framework of assessing the victim’s protection needs.

We will continue monitoring the developments at the Council level and seek opportunities to influence the transposition of the directive on national ground.

Companion animals in the fight against gender-based violence towards women and domestic violence

Browse to this publication