New partnership helps keep families and pets together after domestic violence trauma

Over the last 16 months, Dog Rescue Newcastle, has received a staggering amount of calls from women wanting to surrender or foster their animals for safety concerns due to a domestic violence situation at home. A new partnership with Port Waratah Coal Services has provided additional resources to help keep families and pets together through a new Safe and Sound program.

“We have always helped women in these situations where we can, but it was time to step up and create something for the longer term,” said Jesse Reinhard, Marketing Manager, Dog Rescue Newcastle.

“The Safe and Sound Program allows us to temporarily look after pets in an emergency situation for women fleeing domestic violence and have no financial means for boarding or family and friends to care for their pets during times of crisis.”

The funding from Port Waratah has enabled the program to increase services for families experiencing domestic violence including emergency boarding from 24-48 hours, short-term boarding and care for up to four weeks and start again supply packs with dog food, health and wellbeing and bedding supplies.

The goal of this program is to reduce animal surrender rates to overrun pounds and keep pets and people together.

"We know that women suffering domestic violence are less likely to leave the situation for fear of leaving their loving pet behind. Reports show over 70% of women have said their abusers threatened, hurt or killed their pets following a domestic violence incident,” said Mr Reinhard.

"This program gives these women peace of mind knowing that their pets are in good hands while they find a safe place for themselves and that they will be reunited once they’re back on their feet.

“This program couldn’t be possible without the community support grant provided by Port Waratah Coal Services.  The partnership and support means that along with public donations we can help more women and their pets in times of crisis,” he said.

Trudie Larnach, Manager Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at Port Waratah, said the program addressed an important need in the community.

“Our Community Investment and Partnership Programme is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Ms Larnach.

“Helping to provide a program that assists women and families to keep their pets safe while they escape a domestic violence situation, was an easy decision for us. The program gives great relief and mental health support to these women in difficult circumstances.”

Port Waratah invests $750,000 each year to help local organisations, charities and initiatives across six priority areas including health, environment, education, community, diversity and youth sport.