RCVS President makes Christmas donation to charity coordinating pet fostering service for domestic abuse survivors

Dr Melissa Donald MRCVS, President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), has donated £4,000 to the Links Group, a charity which raises awareness of the links between animal and other forms of abuse.

This year’s donation to the Links Group will help fund the Links Pet Fostering Subgroup which works with Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, Endeavour, Paws Protect and Refuge4Pets to develop and promote service standards and best practice in pet fostering services for the survivors of domestic abuse. The Subgroup also allows a networking space for members to share knowledge and experience, and to gather evidence and highlight the need and impact these services have on survivors.

Melissa says: “Pet fostering is such an important service because, sadly, worry about their beloved pets can act as a barrier to people leaving an abusive relationship or situation and we know at this time of year there is also an increased demand for the service. If an individual knows that their pet will be well looked after by a foster family while they are seeking refuge and that they can one day be reunited, then it may help them get out of a terrible and dangerous situation.

“The Subgroup, by promoting collaboration, best practice, advice and the sharing of evidence and data between pet fostering providers, will mean that domestic abuse survivors and their pets will continue to be well-served now and into the future.”

Paula Boyden, Chair of The Links Group, says: “We were thrilled to receive the RCVS President’s Christmas donation for our ongoing work supporting specialist domestic abuse pet fostering services across the UK. Pets are often treasured members of the family, but this bond can be particularly strong for those suffering in abusive situations, and many victim-survivors will not leave an abusive home without knowing that their beloved animals will be safe too. Pet fostering provides this lifeline – a way to know that your pets will be cared for, for as long as is needed, until you are in a position to be able to do so again yourself.”

Paula continues: “Our members providing pet fostering services have seen a huge increase in demand for their services this year, and with the cost-of-living crisis continuing to impact families, we expect to see this trend continuing. Donations like this enable us to continue to raise awareness of these services and to provide support for the organisations delivering them to ensure a co-ordinated UK-wide approach, in addition to our work training veterinary teams to recognise and act on cases of  non-accidental injury and other forms of abuse”.

Further information about the Links Group and the Pet Fostering Subgroup can be found at https://thelinksgroup.org.uk/pet-fostering

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