A new study headed by the SPCA will look at the links between family violence and animal cruelty, and speak directly to affected people.
The SPCA, which has been given a $100,000 grant for the year-long study, will work with Victoria University and Womens' Refuge on it.
The society's national chief executive, Robyn Kippenberger, says it will speak with at-risk adults and children to see if pets have also been harmed in violent households.
She says it will urge the Government for money to shift people away from a violent person, and make sure animals leave too.
United States research shows that pets are 15 times more likely to be hurt or killed where there is domestic violence, and that people who hurt animals are also likely to hurt people.
Ms Kippenberger says both family violence and animal abuse often go under the radar because people are too afraid to report it.