Local scholar channels her passion

Natasha Oliver from Pokeno did her project exploring the connection between family violence and childhood animal abuse.

The University of Auckland’s youngest researchers are nearing the end of a summer spent taking on real-life research under the guidance of leading academics.

More than 400 students were selected as Summer Research Scholars in the 2017/2018 cohort. One of these was Pokeno’s Natasha Oliver. The 22 year old who studies social work found it was an opportunity to channel her passion for animal welfare into making a practical difference.

Each scholar received a $6000 stipend to spend ten weeks contributing to authentic research. Natasha’s project, designed in collaboration with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), explored the connection between family violence and childhood animal abuse.

It involved an intensive literature review and an investigation into what interventions and training exist that cover child and adolescent cruelty to animals. She also produced fact sheets to help social workers.

“The research explored the connection between family violence and the childhood perpetration of animal abuse. By doing so, it has helped to position animal abuse as another dimension of family violence and contributes to the holistic understanding of what’s going on in a child’s life,” she said.

Natasha now enters her Masters year with a foundation of knowledge to write and publish articles with her supervisor Carole Adamson, and to inform future research on the topic.

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