Meet The Links Group Team

Introducing the The Links Group Team – a dedicated team of individuals committed to our vision of a world free from abuse of people and animals. Led by Dr. Paula Boyden, our Chair and founder member, our trustees bring a wealth of experience and expertise in veterinary care, industry, and charity work. With their guidance, we strive to create a brighter future, providing support, resources, and training to those affected by abuse. Together, we can make a difference. Join us on our mission today.

Dr. Paula Boyden, BVetMed, MRCVS

Chair & Trustee

Chair of the Links Group, Paula graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London in 1992. She spent 11 years in general practice before moving into a technical role in industry in 2003.

Paula joined Dogs Trust in 2010, where she is now Veterinary Director. In addition to veterinary matters, her responsibilities include Dogs Trust’s outreach work, campaigns and public affairs. In addition to being Chair of the Links Group Paula is regularly involved in undergraduate training on Non-Accidental Injury (NAI) within the UK veterinary schools.

Paula is a founder member and past treasurer of the Association of Charity Vets and board member of the Blue Dog Trust. She chairs the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), is vice chair of the Canine and Feline Sector group, sits on the RSPCA’s Prosecutions Oversight Panel and is a member of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.

In 2017 she received BSAVA’s J A Wight Memorial Award for her contribution to the welfare of companion animals. In September 2023, Paula was awarded the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) One Health Award in Lisbon

Paula is a founding Trustee of the Links Group

Vicki Betton, BA (Hons), PGDip IDM

Vice Chair & Trustee

Vicki is Communications Director of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), the largest membership organisation representing supporting and championing vets in the UK. She is responsible for the organisation’s communications and organisational strategy, media and campaigns activities, and digital, marketing and events teams.

Prior to joining BVA in 2022, Vicki worked at PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity, establishing a national youth engagement and schools teaching programme, and a national community education scheme. She was responsible for producing the PDSA Animal Wellbeing PAW Report, development of the organisation’s policy, public affairs and campaigning strategy, and represented PDSA on a number of government and sector working groups.

Vicki continues to work with groups which tackle a wide range of animal welfare issues, including the link between animal abuse and family violence, for which she received BSAVA’s Ray Butcher Award in 2018.

Vicki has been involved with the Links Group for over 15 years and is a founding Trustee of the charity.

Mike Elliott, BSc (Hons), MBA, FCMI

Treasurer & Trustee

Mike is the Links Group’s Treasurer and Operations Director at Cats Protection (CP), the UK’s largest feline welfare organisation.

As part of this role he is responsible for Cats Protection Lifeline, CP’s temporary fostering service for families fleeing domestic abuse, including its national expansion.

Prior to joining CP, Mike spent 20 years in various public and voluntary sector roles, most recently as Assistant Director of Volunteering and Community Involvement at the National Trust. He is passionate about developing the role the voluntary sector plays in society.

Mike is also a Trustee of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes and a former member of the Canal and River Trust’s Volunteering Advisory Panel. He holds an MBA from the Open University Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.

Mike is a founding Trustee of the Links Group.

Dr. Mary Wakeham, BA (Hons), MA, MRes, PhD

Strategic Delivery Lead

Mary has worked in the field of domestic abuse supporting children and adults for over fourteen years.

In 2017, Mary founded Refuge4Pets driven by her passion to enable freedom from domestic abuse for people and animals. The charity is one of the Links Group specialist animal fostering services for victim-survivors of domestic abuse.

Mary has recently completed a PhD at the University of Bristol in the Centre for Gender and Violence Research.

Her research is the first UK study using a feminist methodological approach to explore the coexistence of animal abuse and domestic abuse and is entitled Animal Abuse as a Strategy of Coercive Control.

Mary stepped down from being a Trustee of the Links Group in May 2024.

Rebecca Ashman, BVM&S MRCVS

Trustee

Rebecca graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2006 and worked as a small animal vet in private and charity practice for ten years before moving into veterinary communications.

Rebecca has worked for the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, since 2010 and currently leads the Veterinary Engagement and Communications team, encompassing Education, Evidence and Policy, and Veterinary Communications. She also has responsibility for producing the UK’s longest running and most comprehensive annual assessment of pet welfare – the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report.

Passionate about raising awareness of the link between the abuse of people and animals, Rebecca became a Trustee of the Links Group in November 2022.

Dr. Rachel Dalton, BVSc MRCVS

Trustee

As a recent trustee of the Links Group, Rachel is a passionate advocate of the one health approach and raising awareness of the link between the abuse of people and animals.

A veterinary surgeon by training, Rachel spent 18 months working in small animal practice before diversifying into management consultancy within the NHS, working across the healthcare sector to broaden her perspective.

Rachel currently works as an International Programme Coordinator at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as the co-lead for the UK FAO Reference Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance, bringing together her experience in both human and animal health.

Rachel is also a small animal locum veterinary surgeon, and an Age UK Call in Time volunteer. Rachel became a Trustee of the Links Group in November 2022.

Dr. David Martin

Trustee

I am the Group Head of Animal Welfare at IVC Evidensia the largest corporate veterinary group in Europe where my role is to put animal welfare in the centre of what we do and to ensure that whilst proving world class veterinary care we also help our clients give their animals whether they be pets, production animals or equines the best life they can.

I am also a clinical director and veterinary surgeon for Brownlow Vet Group a part of IVC Evidensia where I act as an experienced independent expert witness undertaking regular instructions in both criminal and civil fields involving animal welfare, animal husbandry and disease including human injuries sustained from animal interactions. I accept instructions from a wide range of clients acting for both prosecution and defence and am also an experienced single joint expert.

In my spare time I am veterinary consultant to Forensic Access supporting both the development of their veterinary training programmes but also undertaking expert and advisory work for them.

David became a Trustee of the Links Group in March 2022.