The NCJFCJ envisions judges who are knowledgeable of the links between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence and use that knowledge to respond in ways that safeguard the wellbeing of both humans and pets. The NCJFCJ envisions judges who understand that violence against humans and animals causes trauma to both humans and animals and seek to address and heal such trauma. The NCJFCJ envisions judges who provide leadership to their communities and their states to promote laws, resources and processes for the safety and wellbeing of youth and families that include family animals. The NCJFCJ envisions judges who engage community stakeholders and local child-, family- and animal-serving practitioners to work in collaboration to understand and address the links between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence in ways that are specific to each community and its needs.
The NCJFCJ encourages juvenile and family court judges to consider and promote the immediate and long-term safety of children, the elderly, intimate partners, and pets in cases involving child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and juvenile offending. In order to provide judges, courts, and related agencies with the knowledge and skills they need to handle this broad range of considerations, the NCJFCJ is committed to developing training and technical assistance resources on the link, and what judges can do, on and off of the bench, to address the link.
Click here to see NCJFCJ’s Resolution Regarding Animal Cruelty and Its Link to Other Forms of Violence.
Since 1999, NCJFCJ has partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national nonprofit law organization dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, to develop those tools and resources for judicial officers and others working to improve outcomes for children and families. Informing the work under this partnership is the Judicial Response to Animal Cruelty Advisory Group, which consists of judicial officers, partners, interested stakeholders, and NCJFCJ staff and includes NCJFCJ past presidents such as Hon. Ramona Gonzalez, Hon. Katherine Tennyson, and Hon. John Romero, representatives from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, LINK Coalition Coordinator Phil Arkow, and other experts in the field. In addition, the NCJFCJ is creating relationships with other national education and advocacy organizations like the National LINK Coalition to add the voice of family and juvenile court judges to the perspectives and resources that such organizations offer on animal welfare and protection.
Through the NCJFCJ-ALDF partnership, the NCJFCJ has developed various materials to educate juvenile and family court judges on animal cruelty and its links to harms against humans, which includes publications, webinars addressing the link and child welfare, domestic violence, elder abuse, hoarding, juvenile offending and other issues, presentations at national conferences, and led public awareness campaigns. Judicial officers have initiated trainings and other efforts in their communities and states to create or support collaboratives of court, child welfare, animal services, domestic violence stakeholders, and professionals for community education on the connections and effective responses to animal cruelty and interpersonal violence. Advisory Group judges are also providing judicial leadership at the state level for statewide training and for creating state-specific resources on domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse case law, court proceedings, and services that include animal cruelty considerations.