School of Health in Social Science

Specialist conference in the fight against animal cruelty

Edinburgh University & Scottish SPCA have announced a conference for 2019 on recognising non-accidental injury in animals.

This unique conference and knowledge exchange event aims to raise awareness of animal cruelty (intentional and unintentional), its connections with human-directed violence and child abuse, and how this can sometimes be a precursor to further crimes. The conference will highlight the issues surrounding animal cruelty and provide information on animal cruelty interventions.  It offers a CPD event for researchers and practitioners in a range of professional groups.

Practitioners working in animal welfare and child health, social care and education will learn about the importance of animal cruelty incidents, how reports of cruelty behaviour might play an important role in assessments of children experiencing difficulties, and how animal cruelty might relate to adverse childhood experiences, including domestic violence.

Delegates will also learn what interventions work when tackling animal cruelty and will hear about our Animal Guardians Programme, the latest research being conducted by the CAAR (Child, Adolescent and Animals Research) team at the University of Edinburgh, and hear a keynote by Phil Arkow Coordinator of the National Link Coalition - the national resource centre on the link between animal abuse and human violence in the United States.

University of Edinburgh Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology, Clinical and Health Psychology Jo Williams said, “This landmark conference will be the first in the UK to focus on animal cruelty and its links to adverse childhood experiences and human violence. 

“By bringing a range of professionals together, and highlighting cruelty as a cross-profession societal issue, we will focus on what we can all do within our professions to promote both animal welfare and young people’s health, safety and development."

Scottish SPCA head of education and policy Gilly Mendes Ferreira said, “We hope that by highlighting the issues surrounding animal cruelty, and providing an insight on how to tackle the link, we can encourage professionals who work with young people and/or animals to take the steps of recognising and reporting concerns

“We believe we can work with the next generation effectively and truly make a difference to both young lives and animals across Scotland.”

By bringing together professionals who work with young people and/or animals, in particular those in the children’s charitable sector, social work, mental health teams, NHS, Police Scotland, vets, teachers among others, we can work with together to protect the health and safety of all animals and young people.

The conference will take place on 9 September 2019 at the Playfair Library in Edinburgh. For more information or tickets visit Eventbrite. 


SPCA and caar logos

Story from the Scottish SPCA website

Caar webpages