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A PSA Template for Promoting Awareness of the Links Between Animal Cruelty and Family Violence

What is a PSA?

dalmation dog sittingA public service announcement (PSA) is a message in the public interest intended to raise public awareness and change behavior. PSAs can be used by federal, state, local, or tribal governments or non-profit organizations to promote programs, activities, or services. They can be developed as a stand-alone project or as part of a larger campaign. Creating a PSA can also build a forum for people to participate in the project and allow them to develop community collaborations and address local issues.

Why is the use of video PSAs on the connections across animal abuse, interpersonal violence, and public safety important?

The development and promotion of video PSAs offer opportunities for judges and communities to:

hand with floating light bulbIncrease awareness and understanding of the links between animal cruelty, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, juvenile offenses, and elder abuse.

hands holding family shapesPromote the safety and well-being of youth and families, including companion animals.

holding hands in a circleEngage in community-specific collaboration among stakeholders and local child-, family-, and animal-serving practitioners to address the needs of each community.

Here’s How You Can Create Your Own Video PSAs

Judicial Resources

An Example: Pulaski County, Virginia’s PSA Series

For more information about how Pulaski County developed their PSAs:
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“Judicial leadership is absolutely crucial in our communities. We are the natural leaders, innovators, collaborators, and conveners – and we are often the most recognizable face in any project. I strongly encourage all judges to participate in the PSAs created in their communities.” H. Lee Chitwood, Judge, Pulaski County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Virginia.

For information on judicial ethics and community leadership:
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Video PSAs, An example: Pulaski County, Virginia’s Community Partners Coalition educational video series for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In 2020, the Pulaski County Community Partners Coalition formed a committee to focus on community-based education around domestic violence. The Coalition Committee was comprised of representatives from community human services agencies, the school system, law enforcement agencies, the faith community, and youth and members of the community at large. The group identified family conflict and violence as a pressing issue for the county. They focused on the creation of a film series to highlight various aspects of domestic violence for Domestic Violence Awareness month, with a video planned to be released each week during October. Each focused on a different topic or “hook.” One was the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. The Coalition Committee chose a video PSA format to provide community education on domestic violence-related issues to reach a broad audience of community members at a time when in-person activities and interactions were restricted because of the COVID pandemic. They chose to feature different speakers, which included a mayor (selected for his visibility and name recognition in the community), a judge (to provide a legal perspective), a local veterinarian (to provide the animal-medical perspective), a domestic violence advocate (to highlight the impact on victims and services), and an animal shelter provider (to highlight the impact on both victims and their animals). The Committee used resources from the National Link Coalition to provide statistics on animal abuse and domestic violence. With available grant funds, Pulaski County purchased equipment to do the actual filming but used a member of their Coalition with technology experience to act as their filmographer and editor. They developed a script with talking points for each of the featured speakers to assist in the process. The Committee filmed footage at different locations, helped some of the speakers with cue cards, and chose to use YouTube as their media for viewing and distribution in order to make the videos accessible to the public. They publicized the PSAs using a press release carried in the local newspaper and engaged their partners to cross-post the video series on the webpages and Facebook pages of their organizations.

For a sample script based on the Pulaski County PSAs, click here:
Click Here

For other PSA examples on different aspects of the relationship between animal abuse and interpersonal violence:
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Additional PSA Resources

There are many more resources available online regarding PSAs, including additional guidance on how to make PSA videos, why PSAs work and why they don’t, as well as a PSA toolkit developed by the Office of Victims of Crime.

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) have developed this template and set of resources to support local collaborations in developing PSAs on the connections between animal cruelty and family violence.

ncjfcjanimal legal defense fund