Violence Link

What is the Violence Link?

The relationship between violence against people and animals is commonly known as the Violence Link. Research shows that violence toward people (interpersonal violence) and violence toward animals (animal cruelty) are part of a larger pattern of violent crimes that co-exist. Cases of inter partner violence, sexual abuse and child abuse (including child sexual abuse), gang violence, youth crime, organized crime, assault, homicide, weapons and illicit drugs also commonly involve animal abuse.

Figure 1. Dr. Rochelle Stevenson, Connected Violences: The History, our Present and the Hope for the Future.

The Canadian Violence Link Coalition

The Canadian Violence Link Coalition (CVLC) was formed in 2018 as a result of issues brought forward at Humane Canada’s 2017 Canadian Violence Link Conference.

The Canadian Violence Link Coalition recognizes the link between interpersonal abuse and animal abuse as well as the intersection of vulnerabilities in both populations. Despite evidence illustrating that better outcomes are achieved when a cross sectoral approach is adopted, animal abuse and human abuse are legislated for and dealt with separately. Further, lack of awareness, education and training on the Violence Link inhibits collaboration between sectors.

The CVLC’s purpose is to bring together stakeholders who are interested in confronting the human-animal Violence Link in order to bring about systemic, lasting change by:

  • Engaging with law and policy makers on relevant legislative and policy developments that recognize the Violence Link
  • Advancing awareness about the Violence Link among stakeholders through educational and awareness campaigns, conferences, workshops and other similar initiatives  
  • Advancing awareness of the Violence Link and available resources among the Canadian public, for example with respect to specific Violence Link cases
  • Encouraging a cross-sectoral approach by providing resources and tools for regional coalitions and networks which address the Violence Link on a community basis  such as cross reporting tools

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the CVLC and/or in joining the CVLC, please contact Humane Canada’s Acting Manager, Criminal Justice System Reform Program, Kerri Thomson at

CVLC Newsletter

New as of 2021, we are pleased to bring you the Canadian Violence Link Coalition Newsletter:


Violence Link Projects Underway

  • The National Violence Link Conference
  • Violence Link Training for police officers across the country
  • Amending ViCLAS book to add animal abuse questions
  • Amending threat assessment questionnaires to add animal abuse questions
  • The National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty (NCPAC) including the annual Prosecution of Animal Abuse Conference
  • Judicial training on the Violence Link, spearheaded by The Honourable Michael A. Kelen, Retired Justice of the Federal Court of Canada
  • Tracking the reporting and prosecution of animal abuse and violence link crimes (via Humane Canada’s Measuring Progress Toward a Humane Canada legal keystones)
  • The ACT (Awareness, Collaboration, Tools) Project

Members of the Canadian Violence Link Coalition Steering Committee

The Canadian Violence Link Coalition is part of Humane Canada’s groundbreaking Criminal Justice System Reform Program. For more details on this program, click here.