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Free cat foster service that helps victims of domestic abuse receives extra funds

The Paws Project helps victims of domestic abuse cat-sad
© Cats Protection - Youtube

A cat fostering service set-up to help victims of domestic abuse has received a grant from the Safe Space Sussex Funding Network.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 20/03/2019, 17:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:50

The £11,000 will go to Paws Protect, a pet fostering service for families escaping from domestic abuse.

The volunteer-led service is based in Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, and it’s the only one of its kind in the UK. It provides free, temporary care for cats right up until their owners find a permanent residence.

Many victims of domestic abuse find themselves housed in temporary accommodation. Unfortunately, such accommodation will rarely accept pets, meaning owners are forced to give up their beloved companions.

A vital service

Katy Bourne is the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. She said:

“Paws Protect is a great example of an innovative local project that aims to help victims and protect those experiencing domestic violence...Disturbingly, it has become apparent that, within domestic abuse situations, offenders often threaten or even kill the victim’s pets as an emotional control mechanism.”

The money is a timely boost for the centre, and the funds have secured the charity's short to mid-term future.

The Paws Project is run by Beverly Russell. She said:

“Paws Protect provides a vital service for people who are fleeing incredibly difficult and distressing situations.”

“For many victims, leaving abusive relationships is made impossible as they cannot bear to lose their pets or put them at risk.”

She continued:

“Our volunteers look after cats in their own homes for as long as is needed – normally a few months – giving their owners the peace of mind that they’re being well cared for and the knowledge that they’ll be reunited.”

Cats protection network

The Paws Project is part of the Cats Protection charity organisation, which helps rescue and rehome over 200,000 cats each year.