Pets important for domestic abuse victims that don't trust humans - expert

Dogs and other pets play a huge role in helping victims of domestic abuse recover, according to a new book.

Companion Animals and Domestic Violence - Rescuing You Rescuing Me co-author Nik Taylor told Newshub the animals are a source of comfort.

"They are emotionally safe, so the women who may not trust other humans can have an emotional bond with these animals in a way that feels very safe and secure to them."

For women who have often been put down or abused, the love of a pet can make a huge difference.

"These women have very often been told that they were worthless by their partners, their dogs behaviour and their animal behaviour, their companion animals" behaviour seemed to offer the opposite to that," Dr Taylor, a sociology professor at the University of Canterbury, said.

Most shelters for people leaving abusive relationships aren't pet-friendly though, so Dr Taylor is calling for funding to allow more of the shelters to take pets.

"Keeping these family units together is the best way forward and that takes funding, you need a premise [with] kennels and catteries and so on to look after the animals.

"So I hope that we have more of a conversation about that."

Companion Animals and Domestic Violence - Rescuing You Rescuing Me will be officially launched in April.