The Violence Link – Webinar – 2021/12/14

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. The Violence Link pervades many crimes including gang violence, youth crime, weapons, gender-based violence, family violence, child abuse, organized crime, assault and homicide.

This presentation will explore the existing research and how the violence link can present as a risk factor for certain populations in terms of their involvement with the criminal justice system. For example, research shows that when a youth witnesses or is involved in animal abuse, whether in the home or on the street, the psychological trauma can have lasting effects which may lead to later criminality if early interventions are not implemented.

Despite evidence showing that a multi-sectoral approach can lead to better outcomes, there is a lack of knowledge about the Violence Link and collaboration between human and animal services. Programs that do feature multi-sectoral approaches typically focus on collaboration between human—only services. This leads to missed opportunities to help at-risk populations.

In this presentation we will hear from Violence Link experts from both the policing and veterinary sectors, highlighting what to look for in terms of identifying the Violence Link. Lastly we will hear about the work of Humane Canada’s Canadian Violence Link Coalition.

Hannah Brown, Manager, Criminal Justice System Reform Program, Humane Canada™
Dr. Margaret Doyle, Forensic Veterinarian, VCA Canada
Leslie Hadfield, Social Sciences Instructor, Atlantic Police Academy


Hannah Brown is responsible for Humane Canada’s Criminal Justice System Reform Program, an initiative integrating the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and the Canadian Violence Link Coalition. Hannah is originally from the UK and is a qualified lawyer in England and Wales. She draws on her 10+ years’ experience as a litigation lawyer, and 5+ years’ experience as the Legal and Project Manager for the UK Centre for Animal Law (ALAW), providing strategic legal advice on issues such as bullfighting subsidies and puppy mills. Hannah enjoys using her skills and experience to advocate for animals and implement initiatives which ensure their protection.
Dr. Margaret Doyle provides forensic consulting services for the law enforcement agencies across Canada. Through her work with local law enforcement she has been involved in hundreds of animal cruelty cases in the Calgary area from crime scene analysis to providing expert witness testimony in court. Dr. Doyle is a certified forensic veterinarian and holds a masters in veterinary forensics from the University of Florida.
Dr. Doyle is a member of the AbMVA animal welfare committee, and, through seats on other committees in Calgary, she is committed to improving working relationships between law enforcement agencies and the veterinary community. Her goal is the facilitation of better handling of animal cruelty cases to benefit the animals directly and assist in risk assessment utilizing animal cruelty as an indicator for future violent crimes.
Leslie Hadfield is the Social Sciences Learning Manager holding the rank of Inspector at the Atlantic Police Academy where she has developed and delivers curriculum on Trauma Informed Deescalation Communication skills, Mental Health, and Domestic Violence. Insp. Hadfield holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Leadership, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Diploma in Human Services and a Certificate in Adult Education. Insp. Hadfield was a collaborator on the National Framework for Collaborative Police Action on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), she assisted Dr.s Coleman and Cotton with TEMPO: A Contemporary Model for Police Education and Training about Mental Illness. As well as coauthored a training manual for MANDT on Autism.
In 2016, she was co-recipient of the International Instructor of the year award presented by State and Provincial Police Academy Directors (SPPADS) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Leslie has been the speaker at numerous conferences and a variety of venues including Canadian Association of Police Educators and Canadian Police Knowledge Network.

Presentation Slides: