Last updated: May 20, 2014
Animal Cruelty and Wildlife Emergencies
If you need to report an act of cruelty or neglect, or you have concerns for the welfare of an animal, please use the contacts within your state to report the problem:
Are you concerned about the way a child you know is treating animals?
There is a link between deliberate cruelty to animals and anti-social behaviour.
Cruelty to animals may be one of the first symptoms of problematic behaviour to appear in young children.
In order to prevent problems later in life and to stop animals being hurt we need to take this behaviour seriously.
We need to help both the children and the animals in these situations.
What can child cruelty to animals mean?
Cruelty to animals by children is complicated and can be a sign of many things, but research indicates that it may well be a sign that something is wrong.
Common problems include:
- Witnessing abuse
- Being the victim of abuse
- Confusion and anger
What should I do if my child or a child I know has harmed an animal? Can I talk to my child?
- Try talking to your child and to those who know your child well such as teachers and carers.
- Try to find out what prompted the cruelty.
- Explain that animals hurt, and have feelings like we do and need to be treated with compassion and respect
- Ask them to work through the Happy Animals game with you
Do I need to tell anyone else?
You should also consider getting help from professionals such as counsellors, and teachers. This is particularly important if your child seems to be having other problems. More information on where to get help can be found at the bottom of this page.
What should I do if my child tells me about another child harming animals
Tell them that this means this child might need help and that they did the right thing by telling you about it.
Reinforce for your child that animal abuse is serious. Talk to your child and help them discuss their thoughts and feelings about their experience. You may need to confirm that this experience is not an indicator of problems for your own child (eg. associating with antisocial peers) and that they have done the right thing by bringing this to your attention.
Should I be worried about ANY and EVERY form of animal abuse?
While some kinds of animal abuse may be one-off it is nevertheless worth highlighting it as a problem. In order to prevent it perhaps turning into something more serious further down the line, talking with your child about their behaviour is strongly recommended. You can talk to them about the right way to treat animals and explain that animals hurt and have feelings like we do and need to be treated with compassion and respect.
“Happy Animals” Interactive Video Game
Can I get help?
You are not alone in considering animal cruelty a serious problem. The following organisations work to ensure the safety of children and animals, and may be able to offer you further assistance.
Parent Helpline: 1 300 30 1300 or www.parentline.com.au
Kids Helpline: 1 800 55 1800 or www.kidshelp.com.au
Qld: 07 3426 9999
WA: 08 9209 9300
VIC: 03 9224 2222
NSW: 02 9770 7555
NT: 08 8984 3795
TAS: 03 6326 6333
ACT: 02 6287 8100
SA: 08 8231 6931