Women and children are wildly over-represented as victims of domestic violence in Australian society. Australian police deal with an estimated 657 incidents of domestic violence each day – one every two minutes 1 - and one woman is hospitalised every three hours.2 As of September 10, 61 women had been killed at the hands of men in incidents of domestic violence in 2015 alone.3
Our society is only beginning to come to grips with the sheer scale and impact of domestic violence in Australia. Importantly, we’re starting to talk about the extent to which this violence is rooted in entrenched patterns of gender inequality, which in turn have seen women and children poorly served by the media, police, judicial system and religious institutions.
The church, of course, is not removed from this. Sadly, the church has too often fallen far short of being the place of empathy, safety, justice and transformation that it is called to be; it has often been slow in responding decisively to protect and serve those who have been impacted by domestic violence. Moves to acknowledge and remedy this fact are afoot, and we celebrate that.
That said, the need for a continued, thoroughgoing and wide-scale societal transformation is clear. We at Common Grace, believing that the call to obey and follow Jesus is at once the call to obey, follow and embody his love for justice, aim to speak into this transformation both in the contexts of the church and wider society. The church can and should be a place of safety for all people, and a voice bringing good news for those who suffer oppression of any sort.
- What is domestic & family violence?
- How do I support someone?
- The scale of the issue
- What’s wrong in our society?
- What about men?
- Why Christians care
- Churches and domestic violence
1 See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-29/domestic-violence-data/6503734
2 Figure from the Luke Batty Foundation
3 Figures from the Counting Dead Women Australia project