Abuse in animals and humans

Abuse in animals and humans

Most injuries seen in daily practice are the result of genuine accidents but veterinary surgeons will sometimes see cases of deliberate abuse or non-accidental injury (NAI). Since early intervention may prevent further abuse it is essential that the possibility of abuse is recognised.

The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons Section 14.13 Animal Abuse advises that non-accidental injury should be included in the veterinary surgeon's differential diagnosis when an injured animal is presented with clinical signs that cannot be attributed to the history provided by the client.

If you have concerns over animal and human welfare there are several factors to take into account:

  • Are you concerned about a person as well as the animal?
  • Try to decide whether you are faced with a victim or a perpetrator
  • Do you feel threatened by the adult in consultation with you?

Download the guide

Recognising abuse in animals and humans (818 KB PDF)

This is a detailed guide aimed at veterinary surgeons and veterinary employees about recognising and handling abuse in animals and humans. The guide includes:

  • Recognising animal abuse or non-accidental injury
  • How to approach a situation where non-accidental injury is suspected
  • How to record or report a case of non-accidental injury
  • Our responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Acts
  • Useful contacts

Last revision: 2016 
Edition: 2 
Publisher: Animal Welfare Foundation / The Links Group 
Number of pages: 24 
Format: PDF

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