Oklahoma Link Coalition
THE LINK BETWEEN ANIMAL AND HUMAN ABUSE
THE LINK BETWEEN ANIMAL AND HUMAN ABUSE
Oklahoma Link Coalition: Seeking to educate about tie between hurting pets and hurting people
By Louisa McCune
Published: April 7, 2017 12:00 AM CDT Updated: April 7, 2017 3:00 PM CDT
While not surprising, the evidence is remarkable. In the past 30 years, social science has led to the discovery of a direct link between animal abuse and several forms of human abuse — specifically domestic abuse, child abuse and elder abuse.
A study in 1983 found that 82 percent of families investigated for animal abuse were also known to social services departments. More than 61 percent were known to criminal probation departments as being families with at-risk children. A study in 1986 found that 48 percent of rapists and 30 percent of child molesters had committed animal abuse when they were younger, and a 2000 study similarly found that 50 percent of school shooters had been animal abusers in childhood. A 2007 study found that batterers who abuse pets are more dangerous, more controlling and use more forms of violence than those who do not.
Along those lines, a 1997 study found that 71 percent of battered women reported their partners harmed, killed or threatened their pets. A 2003 study reported that 92 percent of adult protective services caseworkers found animal neglect coexisting with clients who were unable to care for themselves, and a 2007 study concluded that, because pets can be uniquely important sources of companionship for the elderly, abusive caretakers often exploit that connection, using threats of harm to animals to intimidate pet-owners, retaliate against them or control their assets.
This link between violence against animals and violence against humans is real, demonstrable and the widespread knowledge of it can save lives.
The Oklahoma Link Coalition was founded in 2014, with a mission to convene professionals from a diverse range of fields, including animal welfare advocates, domestic violence mitigators, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and child welfare workers — the people who get up every morning and go to work to help abused animals, children, elders or domestic violence victims. As part of a nationwide effort, the Oklahoma Link Coalition brings these professionals together, providing them with new colleagues they can turn to for help, as well as a library of educational materials and resources to better explain the link to their organizations and the general public.
Heading into its third year, the Oklahoma Link Coalition remains dedicated to informing the public about the connections between human and animal violence. The group has a newly named coordinator, Kathleen Romero, and has plans for a one-day conference later this year. Its first meeting of 2017, scheduled April 19 at the United Way of Central Oklahoma, welcomes anyone interested in sharing this message. These and other new developments will expand the mission and reach of this life-saving coalition.
The “link” is a discovery worth making and sharing in Oklahoma's urban and rural communities. Letting Oklahomans know their law enforcement, animal welfare and abuse-prevention communities are helping each other use what they've learned — to end violence against people and animals — is an effective mission to better serve the state's most vulnerable inhabitants. After all, people and animals are connected — it's always in our best interest to recognize the link between the two.
McCune is executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation.
Read the article on NewsOK.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Link Coalition is pleased to announce the appointment
of Kathleen Romero as the first coordinator in its history.
“I have always wanted to combine my love of animals with my social work experience,” Romero said. “Supporting and protecting animals is one of the strongest values I hold and having the opportunity to do so on a statewide level is a dream come true.”
Romero joins the Oklahoma Link Coalition with years of experience in the social services field. She has worked in a variety of areas, including domestic violence, health and safety, and social science research, and has spent most of her career in the child welfare and child advocacy arena.
This experience, combined with her administrative and community practice background, has helped Romero to make an easy transition into her current position with the Oklahoma Link Coalition. The coalition is comprised of representatives from a wide range of disciplines, including child welfare, adult protective services, law enforcement, veterinary sciences, and animal welfare.
“I am excited to bring together all of these different representatives to work toward this common goal that we all share — to build stronger families and communities by preventing violence against people and animals in Oklahoma,” she said. ”Oklahoma is fortunate to have the Kirkpatrick Foundation to support this important work.”
Romero received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Oklahoma. She is passionate about genealogy, loves sewing and other crafting, and has been vegetarian for ten years. Romero was raised in Norman, and lives there with her husband Brian, and their two kitties, Delta and Eve.
The next meeting of the Oklahoma Link Coalition is April 19, 2017, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at United Way of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Lunch will be provided; attendance is open to everyone and RSVPs are requested for planning purposes.
Upcoming plans for Oklahoma Link Coalition include a one-day conference, enhanced awareness of “the Link” through social media and other forms of media, increased recruitment of members to bring as many disciplines to the table as possible, a new website, and statewide outreach to establish satellite coalitions in smaller and rural communities.
The Oklahoma Link Coalition (OkLC) promotes collaboration, cooperation, public awareness, and education to end violence against people and animals by recognizing the link between human and animal abuse.