The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mahatma Gandhi

36th Annual Michigan Statewide Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Lisa presented two workshops at the 36th Annual Michigan Statewide Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Prevention, Assessment & Treatment held at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan.

On October 23, she presented “Animal Abuse and Children: What All Professionals Need to Know.” This session explored the dynamics of animal abuse and its relevance to the work of professionals in a range of disciplines, including child welfare, mental health, education, social work, law enforcement, and juvenile justice. She discussed the growing body of research on the relationship between animal abuse and other types of antisocial behavior, focusing on animal abuse as an important risk factor in children. State legislation in response to the growing recognition of the link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence was presented. What to do if concerns about animal abuse are identified and ways in which human services and animal welfare professionals can better work together to address childhood animal abuse were discussed.

In a second workshop, Lisa presented, “Animal Abuse and Children: Tools You Can Use.” This session explored why it is important to take childhood animal abuse seriously and its relationship to other risk factors, including maltreatment. Participants learned about animal abuse as an early marker for conduct disorder and research that suggests animal abuse may be related to other adverse childhood experiences. Using case studies and video vignettes, we discussed what professionals should look for and the types of questions that might be asked about animal-related experiences. The session concluded with a discussion of trauma-focused strategies for intervening with children who have engaged in or witnessed animal abuse.

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