Following the Victorian Royal Commission report, there are three specific recommendations for faith communities which are quoted in full at the bottom of this page. We have given a summary and a call to action to help you and your church start talking, and acting on these recommendations.
RECOMMENDATION ON TRAINING:
Utilise training packages on family violence for faith leaders that are being developed currently.
CALL TO ACTION: Ensure your denomination’s ministerial training, leadership learning and pastoral care workshops include training on dealing with Domestic and Family Violence. If your college, institution or church does not have this training as part of the mandatory training schedule, direct them to this recommendation. Call on your leaders to ensure change happens.
RECOMMENDATION ON SERVICES:
Women from faith communities will be included as part of a review of specialist family violence service providers. This is to ensure that specific faith needs are accounted for if women need to use these services.
CALL TO ACTION: Encourage open and honest sharing from your congregation and community members as part of this consultation. Contact your denomination in the recommendation to do so.
RECOMMENDATION ON PROCESSES:
Examine the ways that leaders and your community respond to family violence.
CALL TO ACTION: Open up your congregational processes to be audited. Insist that your entire denomination does so. This should include a full and frank audit of leadership practices and principles which analyses the way certain types of marital and gender stereotypes may exacerbate issues unjust, unequal relational behaviours and, ultimately, of domestic and family violence.
You can download frameworks on how to have your congregation audited here.
RECOMMENDATION 163: The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Multifaith Advisory Group and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, in partnership with expert family violence practitioners, develop training packages on family violence and sexual assault for faith leaders and communities [within three years]. These packages should build on existing work, reflect leading practice in responding to family violence, and include information about referral pathways for victims and perpetrators. The training should be suitable for inclusion as part of the pre-service learning in various faith training institutes, as well as the ongoing professional development of faith leaders.
RECOMMENDATION 164: The Department of Health and Human Services consult with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Multifaith Advisory Group, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and women from faith communities as part of its review of standards for specialist family violence service providers (including men’s behaviour change programs), to ensure that these standards and the associated services take account of the needs of people in faith communities who experience family violence [within two years].
RECOMMENDATION 165: Faith leaders and communities establish processes for examining the ways in which they currently respond to family violence in their communities and whether any of their practices operate as deterrents to the prevention or reporting of, or recovery from, family violence or are used by perpetrators to excuse or condone abusive behaviour.