The Animals Forward:
Risk, Resilience and Remediation in Animal Maltreatment
Prof. Philip Tedeschi, University of Denver
Adv. Yossi Wolfson, Tel Aviv University
In collaboration with the "Violence Towards Animals" Group,Tel Aviv University (Dr. Anat Ben-Yonatan, Boaz Ishay, Dr. Dan Misheiker, Hadas Marcus; Ilanit Branchina)
June 21, 10:00 - 3:00 PM
In person: Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
This workshop will highlight a contemporary and deeper perspective on understanding and responding to animal cruelty examined through the fields of human-animal interactions, animal law, animal health and welfare, forensic psychology, and social work.
The Animals Forward has a goal of improving legal and societal outcomes for animals and preventing future cruelty. Bringing ‘animals forward’ does not imply that humans must be relegated to an afterthought, rather the focus will be founded upon empirical evidence on the interconnected nature of human and non-human animal lives, health, and wellbeing.
This workshop will contribute not only to a greater understanding of the underlying causes of and effective responses to animal maltreatment/cruelty, but also promote public discourse on the importance of our overall treatment of non-human animals.
The workshop covers animal welfare and cruelty issues; understanding the types and circumstances where animals experience maltreatment, the connection between animal maltreatment and interpersonal violence – often called the “LINK” and the importance of responding to animal maltreatment as a factor for public health and safety. This workshop will also explore the clinical and forensic assessment of persons committing animal abuse; the populations (individuals and groups of all ages) and settings where animal abuse is most prevalent; the evaluation, sentencing, and treatment of perpetrators of violence toward animals; and contemporary research defining best practices for responding to the link between cruelty to animals and humans.
The workshop is intended for inter-disciplinary scholars, and for anyone who is interested in increasing their skill base around identifying, addressing, and resolving animal maltreatment/cruelty, including law enforcement, animal control, animal shelter professionals; professionals in the legal, social work, criminology, and mental health fields; and students.
One of our goals of this workshop is to become LINK-informed and to learn effective and evidence-based response to animal maltreatment and neglect. We have conceptualized a LINK-informed approach to include four elements:
Realize the widespread effects of both witnessing and committing acts of animal cruelty and/or abuse, particularly when they co-occur in domestic environments where interpersonal violence is also present, and understand potential paths for recovery (intervention and prevention);
Recognize the signs and symptoms of LINK related violence in children, clients, families, and others involved with the system;
Respond by fully integrating knowledge of the LINK into policies, procedures, and practices; and
Repair broken human-animal bonds by supporting and encouraging the positive side of the human-animal connection as well as engaging in responsible and ethical animal care and pet ownership. Additionally, by striving to make the dark side of the LINK, including all types of animal abuse and cruelty an unacceptable activity.
A confluence of knowledge and growing awareness that animal cruelty may occur in association with various forms of interpersonal violence including child abuse, abuse of at-risk adults, and domestic violence (often referred to as intimate partner violence). The potential for animal maltreatment to serve as a clinical indicator for interpersonal violence supports the importance of community vigilance and training for security and law enforcement professionals as well as mental health clinicians, to accurately identify when acts of animal maltreatment call for an exploration of an individual’s risk to family and the community. Underscored by the recent inclusion of crimes against animals in the United States FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, highlighting the importance for examining the forensic dimensions of animal abuse cases.
This workshop offers participants the opportunity to focus on a critical and underrepresented area of animal studies: animal abuse. Topics to be included are societal and institutional animal abuse, the link between interpersonal violence and animal abuse, assessment of animals suspected of being abused, and treatment of animal abusers. Topics are applicable whether participants are mental health clinicians or public safety professionals and will offer real life case examples for application of critical concepts and skills.
Demonstrate a functional knowledge of the contexts and settings where animal abuse is most likely to occur.
Demonstrate knowledge of the relevant research of the link between interpersonal violence and animal abuse.
Develop a functional understanding of the assessment of animals where abuse is suspected.
Describe risk factors, typical features, and intervention considerations of animal abuse perpetrators.
Values and Ethics:
To adopt a commitment to humane treatment of animals at the individual, local, and societal levels.
To increase sensitivity to instances of animal abuse and maltreatment as they occur in professional and personal contexts.
To endorse the need to provide assessment and treatment to perpetrators of violence against animals.
To endorse a commitment to humane ethics and values as they apply to working with the human–animal bond, including an understanding of the relationship between animal cruelty and human violence.
Learn best practice approaches, and general assessment and intervention strategies for the identification and treatment of animal abuse in a variety of settings.
The following text is suggested for this workshop:
Levitt, L., Patronek, G., & Grisso, T. (2016). Animal maltreatment: forensic mental health issues
and evaluations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
The material presented in this class may be disturbing and upsetting to participants. Due to the emotional and potentially disturbing nature of animal abuse, self-care is a vital component of this workshop. Throughout the workshop you will be asked to reflect on and explore capacities for mental health self-care.
This training would be led by Clinical Professor Philip Tedeschi LCSW, Director Emeritus of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection. Philip Tedeschi is a forensic social worker, recognized for his work focused on human-animal interaction and critical animal studies, interpersonal violence including animal abuse. Philip Tedeschi is a senior clinical faculty member at the Graduate School of Social Work and an appointed faculty member with the Animal Law Program at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.