IVC Evidensia

Non-Accidental Injury

Non-Accidental Injury (NAI) in animals is an emotionally, legally and logistically complicated topic. Identifying it and tackling it requires an investment of time, experience, emotional energy, sensitivity, tact, and not a small measure of courage.

In many cases the approach is often diminished or avoided entirely due to a fear of getting it wrong, making it worse or of repercussions either individually or to the business. Veterinary professionals often feel inherently unqualified in the area of NAI, however, it is our moral and professional responsibility to protect and maintain the welfare of animals under our care. After all every MRCVS makes the declaration;

I promise and solemnly declare that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, above all, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care.

It is important to remember the relationship between NAI and other types of abusive relationship whether that be child abuse, domestic violence or abuse of the elderly. These may all be present together. NAI can exist alone, or alongside other forms of abuse. 

“When animals are abused, people are at risk and when people are abused, animals are at risk.”

David Martin BVSc MRCVS, Group Animal Welfare Advisor

While most pets find a loving and caring home, others find themselves subject to welfare challenges including physical abuse. There is a well documented link between violence in humans and animals, meaning the same abusive behaviour can threaten the safety of some of the humans in that home. This has never been more pertinent than during COVID-19 lockdowns, with a significant rise in reports of domestic physical abuse.

Unfortunately many still go unreported, leading us to build a training and support structure within our Group to help our teams recognise animal abuse, guiding them to manage the situation sensitively and effectively and in so doing protect a pet and potentially an owner.

If you are concerned about the welfare of any animals, reach out via the link below.