November 4, 2013- The Peace River Center was recently awarded a RedRover Relief Safe Housing grant, enabling the Florida domestic violence shelter to build on-site housing for pets of domestic violence victims.
RedRover, a national nonprofit organization based in Sacramento, California, provides grants for financial assistance and support for victims of domestic violence through its RedRover Relief program, enabling domestic violence victims to safely escape abusive situations with their pets.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. As many as 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave. According to Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T), a national initiative that guides family violence shelters on how to welcome families with pets, only a fraction of the 2,500 domestic violence shelters in the United States report having the ability to house animals onsite.
RedRover’s Safe Housing program provides essential funding to domestic violence shelters to enable them to fund the creation of on-site space to house pets. “Sadly, many domestic violence victims stay in abusive homes because they are afraid to leave their pets,” said Nicole Forsyth, RedRover President and CEO. “Their pets are often also victims of abuse, suffering from injuries and neglect. RedRover’s Safe Housing grants make it possible for victims to receive lifesaving sheltering services, reassured that their pets are protected.”
In June, the Peace River Center was awarded a $3,000 grant from RedRover to construct an on-site housing center for pets of domestic violence victims. Sheryl Schwab, Director of the Peace River Center said, “Many domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers out of concern of what will happen to their pets when they leave.” Schwab added, “This funding will be beneficial in assisting guests of Peace River Center to house their companion animals while they are safe in our shelters.”
The Peace River Center will be using RedRover’s grant funding to build an on-site facility with two outdoor kennel runs and indoor housing for smaller animals, including lockable cages. Because of their central Florida location, the Peace River Center has taken the pets into consideration during an emergency evacuation; the shelter is equipped with portable kennels for all the animals staying with their families. “The mission of Peace River Center is to engage, restore and empower individuals in our community to reach their fullest potential,” Schwab says. “Without RedRover’s help, we couldn’t continue this important work.”
About The Peace River Center
The mission of the Peace River Center’s Victim Services Program is to the reduce the incidence of sexual violence and intimate partner violence, as well as promote safety and a higher quality of life through shelter services, supportive programming, counseling, advocacy, education and outreach within Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.