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Members of the profession are of course more likely than most to receive information about violent incidents that constitute abuse against an animal, and research has shown that such cases are often the index case that trigger investigation into violent households.
Jennie Bartholomew, education coordinator at the BSAVA said: "Suspecting animal abuse can be an alarming and sensitive issue to confront but our training courses should give veterinary teams the skills and support they need to help deal with such cases."
The sessions will provide guidance on setting up a practice protocol and identifying a Safeguarding Liaison Officer (SLO) who will aid practice staff in suspected cases of abuse. Through the SLO, relationships with RSPCA officers, police domestic abuse officers and aid agencies can be set up to give staff expert support to call upon if they suspect animal or human abuse.
Freda Scott-Park is a BSAVA Past President and is one of the lecturers on the Links Veterinary Training Initiative courses. She said: "There are few veterinary practices that do not encounter animal abuse, not daily, but the incidence is increasing.
"Cases can be quite complicated to diagnose but often vets find they develop a sixth sense that something isn’t right. By defining the complexities and difficulties in diagnosis, the course aids vets, veterinary nurses and receptionists to understand how to proceed – to ask the right questions and how to seek help from the correct people.
"Information from the veterinary practices may allow human healthcare professionals to investigate troubled households, offering support to the family and potentially improving or saving a human victim’s life."
Three sessions have been organised around the country during 2019. They are free for BSAVA members, with a non-member price of £40.00.
Sunday 23 June: Wetherby Racecourse, Yorkshire
Monday 16 September: Woodrow House, Gloucester
Sunday 27 October: Jesus College, Cambridge
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