Researchers are asking Saskatchewan residents who have experienced violence and abuse and owned animals to respond to an online survey.

The project, conducted by the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) and the Saskatchewan SPCA, is examining how animal ownership creates barriers for victims leaving violent situations.

"This research will not only assist the victims and their animals, but also have a positive impact on the health and safety of the community at large," Crystal Giesbrecht, director of research and communications at PATHS, said in a news release.

Saskatchewan has the highest rate of violence and abuse within intimate partner relationships in Canada. Cultural, social, and practical barriers prevent access to domestic violence services – including ownership of animals, according to the release.

To complete the survey or take part in an interview, visit pathssk.org/animals-ipv or violencelink.ca.

The closing date is March 31. The research project is scheduled to be completed in the fall.