|Animal Cruelty Issues: What Juvenile and Family Court Judges Need to Know
Judicial Leadership and the Link
NCJFCJ encourages judges to assume leadership roles on issues affecting children and families as a means to improve access to justice, the administration of justice, and outcomes for individuals seeking justice. Juvenile and family court judges have an important role in addressing, intervening in, and preventing interpersonal violence against household members, including pets, in juvenile or family law cases and need to understand the links between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, laws recognizing that animals can be crime victims, and the tools and resources that exist to promote the safety and wellbeing of both humans and animals. In 2019, NCJFCJ partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and convened a group of judges to explore education and advocacy needed to assist judges in understanding the links between animal abuse and interpersonal violence and in responding appropriately to cases involving co-occurring animal and human abuse. The convening led to the creation of an ongoing the Judicial Response to Animal Cruelty Advisory Group and the development of publications, webinars, and other resources aimed at educating juvenile and family court judges on animal cruelty and its links to harms against humans and assisting courts in improving responses to families and their companion animals.