Counselors learn the link between animal and family abuse

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The People's Advocate in Lake Charles hosted their 2nd annual "Preventing Family Violence Workshop" on Saturday, May 29th at McNeese State University.

The workshop brought in speakers from all over the United States who gave lectures on what starts how animal violence and family are linked.

Lawyers and counselors from the lake area learned ways to use these domestic violence theories in cases where family abuse and animal abuse are both involved.

Sheila Gilley is a licensed professional counselor and a volunteer for the 4 Paws Society.

Gilley said that the workshop taught her better ways to look for signs of animal abuse in family violence cases.

"We always look for signs of animal abuse when we're doing therapy with a family that has violence," said Gilley.

Gilley said looking at the animals first can often point to the source of violence in the household.

"Children who have started to abuse animals have a very high risk of becoming violent toward humans," said Gilley.

According to the People's Advocate, the state of Louisiana has the highest domestic violence rates and and child abuse rates in the United States.

"As long as those numbers are high, we'll continue to look at ways of working together to figure out how we're going to end this cycle of violence in southwest Louisiana," said Beth Zilbert, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the People's Advocate.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family or animal abuse, feel free to contact the People's Advocate office at (337) 436-3475.

You can also find links to the People's Advocate web site and the 4 Paws Society posted to the right.

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