Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors and Their Pets During A Pandemic

June 24, 2020

Headlines these days can feel a bit overwhelming. Among the myriad of sensational, often divisive, and seemingly grim stories we see daily across the media and social platforms in 2020, finding a positive headline and tale of authentic corporate social responsibility can be like a needle in a haystack.

While it seems every company has felt the need to update us on their promise to us in these trying times, it hasn’t been lost on consumers, that Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same. According to surveys like Edelman’s Coronavirus Trust Barometer Special Report, consumers indicate that they expect brands to take the reins and help us through this “new normal.” But, more than slow piano riffs and montages that pull the heartstrings, consumers expect brands and companies to step up for their employees and communities.

One tragic impact of the coronavirus pandemic getting few headlines may be exacerbated by the stay-at-home orders imposed on many citizens around the world. Staying home is one of the best ways we have available at this time to slow the spread of COVID- 19, yet home is not always a safe place for people who experience domestic violence. The combination of coronavirus-related restrictions, reports of increases in volume, as well as increases in the level of violence associated with some of the reports has survivors and domestic violence shelters in a tough place.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner each year, and 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines each day. With COVID-19 forcing people to remain in their homes, these statistics are dramatically increasing.

Studies have shown, up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.[i] That is why our client, Bayer Animal Health, partnered with NCADV to commit $100,000 to domestic violence shelters supporting survivors and their pets. Amidst significant increases in domestic violence, Bayer and NCADV help shelters supporting those fleeing from physical, mental, and emotional abuse with their pets.

Long committed to supporting families with pets, through campaigns we have proudly helped support, such as K9s For Warriors, PAWS: Share the Story, and Grants Fur Families, Bayer has been an advocate for the expansion of services to keep people and their pets safe together for over a decade. “No one should have to choose between their safety and their pet,” said Lauren Dorsch, Deputy Director, Communications, Bayer Animal Health U.S. “We know that there are new difficulties and complexities in assisting survivors during this pandemic. Our hope is that this funding will help domestic violence shelters fill that gap that exists for families escaping domestic violence with their pets.”

Mastermind’s role was one where we helped raise awareness using social and digital channels to ensure that more shelters were aware of the opportunity to access these funds, as well as to increase awareness of the issues and challenges of domestic violence among pet owners, and continue to highlight the ongoing support Bayer provides in this area.

For more info, follow @Bayer4Pets on Instagram to learn more and discover the shelters awarded these grants.

[i] Source:  Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Nielsen, 2004

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