Selected Publications

Here are just a  few of my publications and research papers.

Stevenson, R., Fitzgerald, A., & Barrett, B. (in press). Sheltering pets from intimate partner violence: Insights from domestic violence shelter staff in Canada. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work.

Abstract: The connection between intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse against animals is becoming well documented. Women consistently report that their pets have been threatened or harmed by their abuser, and many women delay leaving abusive relationships out of concern for their pets. Shelters are often faced with limited resources, and it can be difficult to see how their mandate to assist women fleeing IPV also includes assistance to their companion animals. Through surveys with staff from 17 IPV shelters in Canada, the current study captures a snapshot of the shelter policies and practices regarding companion animals. The study explores staff’s own relationships with pets and exposure to animal abuse, as well as how these experiences relate to support for pet safekeeping programs, perceived barriers, and perceived benefits for the programs. Policy implications for IPV service agencies include asking clients about concerns about pet safety, clear communication of agency policies regarding services available for pet safekeeping, and starting a conversation at the agency-level on how to establish a pet safekeeping program in order to better meet the needs of women seeking refuge from IPV.

Barrett, B., Fitzgerald, A., Stevenson, R., & Chung, C.H. (2017). Animal maltreatment as a risk marker of more frequent and severe forms of intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. doi 10.1177/0886260517719542

Abstract: Although there is a growing body of literature documenting the co-occurrence of animal abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV), only a few studies have examined the relationship between animal maltreatment, types of IPV, and abuse severity. The results of those studies have been inconclusive and in some cases even contradictory. The current study contributes new findings to that specific segment of the literature and sheds some light on the inconsistent findings in previous studies. Data were gathered from 86 abused women receiving services from domestic violence shelters across Canada via a structured survey about pet abuse and the level and types of IPV perpetrated by abusive partners. Type and severity of IPV was measured using subscales of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) and the Checklist of Controlling Behaviors (CCB). Animal maltreatment was measured using the Partner’s Treatment of Animals Scale (PTAS). Participants were divided into three groups: women who did not have pets during their abusive relationship (n = 31), women who had pets and reported little or no animal maltreatment (n = 21), and women who had pets and reported frequent or severe animal maltreatment (n = 34). Examining within-group variations in experiences of IPV and pet abuse using a series of one-way between-groups ANOVA tests, this study provides evidence to support the conclusion that women who report that their partner mistreated their pets are themselves at significantly greater risk of more frequent and severe forms of IPV, most specifically psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. The findings point to the urgency of better understanding and mitigating the unique barriers to leaving an abusive relationship faced by women with companion animals.

Fitzgerald, A., Barrett, B., Schwom, R., Stevenson, R., & Chernyak, E. (2016). Standardizing the Measurement of Animal Maltreatment in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence: Development of The Partner’s Treatment of Animals Scale. Anthrozoos, 29(4), 611-625. doi 10.1080/08927936.2016.1228760.

Abstract:  Although studies of the relationship between animal abuse and intimate partner violence have proliferated in recent years, building upon previous work and making cross-study comparisons have been rendered difficult by the utilization of differing operationalizations of animal maltreatment within this literature. This paper aims to mitigate this problem by introducing and detailing a scale of animal maltreatment by romantic partners, developed and tested with a sample of 55 women in domestic violence shelters who self-identified as victims of intimate partner violence. The Partner’s Treatment of Animals Scale (PTAS) is comprised of five scales (emotional animal abuse, threats to harm animals, animal neglect, physical animal abuse, and severe physical animal abuse) that have strong demonstrated reliability. The construction of the scales is presented in this paper, and recommendations are made for employing the PTAS in subsequent studies.

Stevenson, R. (2016). Redefining and Addressing Animal Abuse. Review of Understanding Animal Abuse by Clifton Flynn. Society & Animals. doi 10.1163/15685306-12341409

Check back soon for more publications!

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