The Missing LINK in Social Work: Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims

The Missing LINK in Social Work Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-07-16
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: The Missing LINK in Social Work: Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims
Unit 2 Transcript: The Missing LINK in Social Work: Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims
Unit 3 Workbook: The Missing LINK in Social Work: Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims
Unit 4 Recording: The Missing LINK in Social Work: Addressing Animal Abuse to Improve Delivery of Services to Vulnerable Victims

The Link is a concept that connects the dots between four forms of family violence – domestic violence, child maltreatment, elder abuse, and animal cruelty. People who work across these spaces are likely to see two or more of them occurring in a single family or household at one time. Animal abuse is often more visible, and the ability to recognize it and respond accordingly could be the first point of intervention to interrupt the cycle of violence. However, there’s a PAWS Gap preventing the effective recognition, response and referral for cases that involve the Link.

Back on the Justice Clearinghouse to unpack the Link and the PAWS Gap and what can be done to address this from a multi-disciplinary approach is Phil Arkow. Phil is the Coordinator of the National LINK Coalition, chairs the Latham Foundation’s Animal Abuse and Family Violence Prevention Project, and an internationally acclaimed lecturer, author, and educator.

Points he covered in his presentation include:

  • An overview of the National Link Coalition – it’s inception, the core of their work, and their mission.
  • Phil’s career journey that coincides with developments on the recognition of the Link.
  • The People and Animals Welfare and Safety (PAWS) Gap which highlight the areas that can be improved in the criminal justice and social work space as it relates to the human-animal bond.
  • The Link – how it emphasizes the interconnectedness of various forms of family violence and urges the recognition of animal cruelty as an indicator other forms of violence.
  • The different ways that animal and human violence links manifests and results in certain crimes.
  • The concept of pet-inclusive social work and how it can improve intervention and prevention by integrating animal welfare into human services.
  • The 3 Rs: How efforts to recognize, respond to, and refer pet-related concerns address the PAWS Gap and benefit both humans and animals.
  • Challenges in terms of awareness, education, intervention, and solutions to make pet-inclusive social work possible.
  • The historical irony that child protection services originated from animal protection efforts, yet there’s minimal collaboration between the fields currently.
  • The importance of espousing pet-inclusive social work as it relates to…
    • The value of pets to the family and the community and how children’s experience with pets and loss of pets can have lifelong implications.
    • Facilitating rapport and trust between clients and caseworkers and informing caseworkers and first responders about the potential for other forms of violence.
  • Nine emerging career opportunities in the Link space that addresses the PAWS Gap and how each career track can assist with recognition, response, and referrals to better manage cases related to animal cruelty and family violence.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Research being made in the Link space around the world.
  • Breed-related pet restrictions even in pet-friendly housing.
  • Options, resources, and funding for pet-friendly housing facilities.


Other Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Animal Welfare webinars on the JCH Platform


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Extremely valuable presentation for the 3 R approach and for reinforcing my understanding of the connections between human & animal abuse. Great listing of all the places & ways social workers can address these. I’m trained as a social worker (MSW) & I’m a physician and in neither of these fields was I educated to recognize these human connections with animal abuse. For several years, I’ve been on the board of directors for a non-profit animal advocacy, program & policy organization here in NM.”
  • “I have attended many Besty B’N’B Webinars regarding the connection with pet violence and intimate partner violence, pet-involved safety planning, and more. This webinar hit every void of information I was missing from previous webinars. Thank you so much for providing this information and resources.”
  • “The presentation was very informative and touched on areas I had not considered before. I am resolved to be even more aware and cognizant of other possible victims in the household when addressing complaints of animal abuse and to act on any concerns, no matter how slight. I especially enjoyed learning about the history of animal welfare agencies being the forerunner for child welfare. It reinforces the importance of investigating complaints of animal abuse / neglect.”
  • “Fantastic! I’m an animal lover and do consider a pet’s value. However, this webinar brought their importance to the foreground in many other places or environments other than the family pet, court dog or companion pet. I will be bringing this up to the administration of my GAL office in the hopes of adding this topic to our training of new volunteers. Thank so much.”



This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine?s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.




Additional Resources
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