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Trainings

The Animals and Society Institute offers a variety of training options. These can also be customized to meet the needs of your organization. For more information about a specific training (or if you’re interested in bringing a training to your area), please contact us at info@animalsandsociety.org.

Workshops on Animal Abuse and Children

All forms of violence exposure—especially in combination and over time—can be detrimental to children. Notably lacking in the discussion of children’s exposure to violence is the role of animals in children’s lives. Given that children may be more likely to grow up in a home with a pet than a live-at-home father, this is an important gap. A growing body of research suggests that childhood exposure to animal abuse—either as a perpetrator or a witness—is an important risk factor. For example, animal abuse has been found to co-occur with family violence. Since 1987, animal cruelty has been included in the criteria for conduct disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Animal abuse is a symptom that appears early in the development of conduct disorder (Miller, 2001) – even earlier than symptoms such as bullying and fire-setting (Frick, et al., 1993). A meta-analysis of 60 studies found that animal abuse could be used to discriminate between children with severe and mild conduct problems (Frick et al., 1993). Mental health experts agree that early identification of children at risk can lead to more effective interventions.

References

Frick, P.J., Van Horn, Y., Lahey, B.B., Christ, M.A.G., Loeber, R., Hart, E.A., Tannenbaum, L., & Hanson, K. (1993). Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder: A meta-analytic review of factor analyses and cross-validation in a clinical sample. Clinical Psychology Review, 13, 319–340.

Miller, C. (2001). Childhood animal cruelty and interpersonal violence. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 735-749.

Workshop 1: Children and Animal Abuse: What You Need to Know

Audience. This training is intended for professionals from a range of disciplines who work with youth, including social workers, attorneys, probation officers, judges, school counselors, teachers, child care providers, and community members.

Session Length: This is a half-day training, but can be adapted to meet the needs of the audience.

Workshop description: The workshop will begin with a discussion of the role companion animals play in children’s lives. We will discuss the growing body of research on the relationship between animal abuse and other types of antisocial behavior, focusing on animal abuse as an important risk factor in children. Participants will learn about animal abuse as an early marker for conduct disorder and research that suggests animal abuse may be related to other adverse childhood experiences, including maltreatment. Using case studies and video vignettes, we will explain why all professionals dealing with children should be aware of animal abuse as a risk factor for children. We will discuss what professionals should look for and the types of questions that might be asked about animal-related experiences. The workshop will conclude with discussion of the range of intervention resources available, including AniCare® Child.

Learning objectives: Following this session participants will be able to describe:

  • Ways in which animal abuse affects children and family systems, citing available research on animal abuse and its link to other behavior problems.
  • Key factors to consider in assessing animal abuse.
  • Ways in which assessment data can be used to guide choice of intervention strategies.
  • Trauma-focused strategies for intervening with children who have abused animals or witnessed abuse.

Cost:

  • Presenter travel
  • CE application fees (if applicable)
  • Honorarium: $400

Workshop 2: Assessment and Treatment of Children Who Have Engaged In or Witnessed Animal Abuse: The AniCare® Approach

Audience: The primary audience consists of mental health professionals working with children in a range of settings and circumstances (e.g., schools, private practice, child welfare and juvenile justice systems, domestic violence service providers).

Session Length: This is a day-long training that typically begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.

Workshop description: This workshop develops participants’ understanding of childhood animal abuse and its relevance to professionals in mental health, school, child welfare and juvenile justice settings. We begin with an overview of research in this field. Models of animal abuse based in attachment theory, personality theory, systems theory, cognitive theory, behavior theory, and psychodynamic theory are presented. We review the DSM-V’s inclusion of animal abuse in conduct disorder, as well as considering additional diagnoses and clinical presentations where harm to animals may be relevant. Using case examples, we discuss the importance of individualized assessment and review factors to consider in assessment. Participants learn to use the Boat Inventory on Animal-Related Experiences, a semi-structured clinical interview, to guide assessment; they also become familiar with other instruments that measure animal abuse. Review of taped interviews serves as a basis for discussion of strategy, including techniques for building rapport with children resistant to disclosing socially undesirable behavior or describing traumatic experiences of witnessing animal abuse. Participants’ own potential discomfort in working with individuals who have harmed animals is also explored in depth. The AniCare® Child model of treatment, based on empirically-supported techniques for behavior change, is introduced with case videos, analysis of vignettes, and role-play opportunities. Finally, participants review laws relevant to professionals working with animal abuse, including states that mandate or permit court-ordered evaluation and/or treatment of animal abusers, and discuss how human services and animal protection systems can better work together to address animal abuse.

Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of animal abuse on children and family systems, citing available research on animal abuse and its link to other behavior problems.
  • Explain key factors to consider in assessing animal abuse, and conduct an assessment interview to explore a child’s relationships with animals.
  • Use assessment data to guide the choice of intervention strategies.

Cost:

  • Presenter travel
  • CE application fees (if applicable)
  • Honorarium: $700

Workshops on Animal Abuse and Adults

A growing body of research has documented the co-occurrence of animal abuse and other antisocial behavior:

  • In a nationally representative sample of 43,093 adults in the U.S., cruelty to animals was significantly associated with all assessed antisocial behaviors (Vaughn, et al., 2009).
  • Animal cruelty can be a marker of family violence. Batterers who also abuse pets use more forms of violence, more controlling behaviors, and are more dangerous than batterers who do not abuse pets (Simmons & Lehmann, 2007).
  •  A study that included 427 women who had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) and a randomly-selected control group that had not experienced IPV found that perpetrators of IPV were more likely to have not graduated from high school, have abused alcohol or drugs, be reported as having fair or poor mental health, and have abused or threatened to abuse pets (Walton-Moss, et al., 2005).
  •  A Massachusetts SPCA study found animal abusers to be five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people, four times more likely to commit property crimes, and three times more likely to have a record for drug or disorderly conduct offenses (Luke, et al., 1997).
  •  In a study done by Chicago Police from 2001 to 2004, of 332 people arrested for cruelty to animals or dog fighting 70 percent had also been arrested for non-animal-related felonies; 86 percent had two or more crimes in their history; 65 percent had also been arrested for battery of all sorts; and 59 percent were confirmed gang members (Degenhardt, 2005).

References

Degenhardt, B. (2005). Statistical Summary of Offenders Charged with Crimes against Companion Animals July 2001-July 2005. Report from the Chicago Police Department.

Luke, C., Arluke, A., Levin, J. (1997). Cruelty to Animals and Other Crimes. Report by the Massachusetts SPCA.

Simmons, C. A., & Lehmann, P. (2007). Exploring the link between pet abuse and controlling behaviors in violent relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(9), 1211–1222.

Vaughn, M.G., Fu, Q., DeLisi, M., Beaver, K., Perron,B., Terrell, K., & Howard, M.O. (2009). Correlates of cruelty to animals in the United States: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43, 1213-1218.

Walton-Moss, B.J., Manganello, J., Frye, U. & Campbell, J.C. (2005). Risk factors for interpersonal violence and associated injury among urban women. Journal of Community Health, 30(5), 377-389.

Workshop 1: Animal Abuse, Interpersonal Violence and Antisocial Behavior: What You Need to Know

Audience. This training is intended for professionals from a range of disciplines, including social workers, attorneys, probation officers, judges, domestic violence service providers, veterinarians, child and animal welfare professionals, guardians ad litem, and community members.

Session Length: This is typically a half-day training, but can be adapted to meet the needs of the audience.

Training Overview. This training will assist participants to understand the dynamics of animal abuse and how it is relevant to their work. The session will include an overview of the relationship between animal abuse and other forms of antisocial behavior, information on the state’s animal cruelty laws, and presentation of basic screening questions and approaches that can be used to identify situations in which people and animals may be at risk. We will discuss what to do if concerns about animal abuse are identified and present information on interventions, including the AniCare® model of treatment, which is based on empirically-supported techniques for behavior change.

Learning Objectives. Following the training, attendees will understand and be able to describe:

  • Why it is important to take animal abuse seriously, citing available research on animal abuse and its link to other antisocial behavior.
  • Key factors to consider in assessing animal abuse.
  • State laws relating to animal abuse and animal fighting.
  • Ways in which assessment data can be used to guide choice of intervention strategies.

Cost:

  • Presenter travel
  • CE application fees (if applicable)
  • Honorarium: $400

Workshop 2: Assessment and Treatment of Adults Who Have Engaged In Animal Abuse: The AniCare® Approach

Audience: The primary audience consists of mental health professionals working with adults who have abused animals.

Session Length: This is a day-long training that typically begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.

Workshop description: This workshop develops participants’ understanding of animal abuse and its relevance to professionals in mental health, domestic violence, and justice settings. We begin with an overview of research in this field. Models of animal abuse based in attachment theory, personality theory, systems theory, cognitive theory, behavior theory, and psychodynamic theory are presented. We review diagnoses and clinical presentations where harm to animals may be relevant. Using case examples, we discuss the importance of individualized assessment and review factors to consider in assessment. Participants learn to use instruments that measure animal abuse. Review of taped interviews serves as a basis for discussion of strategy, including techniques for building rapport with adults resistant to disclosing socially undesirable behavior. Participants’ own potential discomfort in working with individuals who have harmed animals is also explored in depth. The AniCare® model of treatment, based on empirically-supported techniques for behavior change, is introduced with case videos, analysis of vignettes, and role-play opportunities. Finally, participants review laws relevant to professionals working with animal abuse, including states that mandate or permit court-ordered evaluation and/or treatment of animal abusers, and discuss how human services and animal protection systems can better work together to address animal abuse.

Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between animal abuse and other antisocial behavior, citing available research.
  • Explain key factors to consider in assessing animal abuse, and conduct an assessment interview.
  • Use assessment data to guide the choice of intervention strategies.

Cost:

  •  Presenter travel
  • CE application fees (if applicable)
  • Honorarium: $700

Note: A two-day training on AniCare® Child and AniCare® can be arranged at a cost of $1,300, plus travel expenses and CE application fees (if applicable).

Upcoming Trainings

Stay tuned!

Previous Trainings

April 19, 2017: Dr. Lisa Lunghofer conducted a one-day training on animal abuse and interpersonal violence at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor, MI.

April 1, 2017: Dr. Lisa Lunghofer conducted a workshop on animal abuse and children at the Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association conference in Annapolis, MD.

June 22, 2016: “Intervening with Children who Witnessed or Engaged in Animal Abuse” was the third of three webinars Dr. Lisa Lunghofer presented in a three-part series on animal abuse and children in collaboration with the Humane Society Academy.

May 25, 2016: “Assessing Children’s Relationships with Animals”  was the second of three webinars Dr. Lisa Lunghofer presented in a three-part series on animal abuse and children in collaboration with the Humane Society Academy.

April 20, 2016: “Animal Abuse and Children: An Important Risk Factor” was the first of three webinars Dr. Lisa Lunghofer presented on animal abuse and children in collaboration with the Humane Society Academy.

October 22, 2015: Dr. Lisa Lunghofer conducted a one-day training on animal abuse and children at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, PA.

February 27 and 28, 2015: Dr. Maya Gupta presented AniCare Adult and AniCare Child trainings in Oklahoma City, OK.

January 24, 2014: Trainers Nancy Bell and Tamara Ward presented AniCare Child training at the Center for Family Safety and Healing in Columbus, OH.

October 11-13, 2013: Drs. Maya Gupta and Elizabeth Strand presented AniCare Adult and AniCare Child trainings.  Hosted by the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, Veterinary Social Work Program.

October 15, 2013  Sarasota, Florida: Nancy Bell and Dade City Police Officer Debbie Mims presented Linking Acts of Cruelty to Animals and Violence toward Humans at the 44th Annual  Southern States Crime Prevention Training Conference held by the Florida Crime Prevention Association.

September 16, 2013: AniCare trainer Tamara Ward presented on AniCare and AniCare Child at the New Mexico Conference on the Link Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence.

September 13, 2013: Maya Gupta, Ph.D., executive director of Ahisma House, and Charyl Durbin, Ph.D., Child and Adolescent Specialist in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, provided an AniCare Child training for mental health professionals employed by Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services.  This training is supported by a grant from The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust.

September 11, 2013: Cynthia Bathurst, Ph.D., executive director of Safe Humane Chicago, presented Animal Abuse and Juvenile Offenders: What You Need To Know to judges in the Child Protection Division of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department in Cook County, Illinois. This training was supported by a grant from The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust.