The statistics are now well known: a woman is murdered every week, another hospitalised every three hours. Around one in four women have experienced violence by an intimate partner. While this campaign has a strong focus on male to female violence, we acknowledge and condemn all intimate partner and family violence.
The 2016 Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence contained several specific recommendations for faith communities. Faith leaders that had been consulted in the Commission demonstrated a strong commitment to responding to family violence but lacked the understanding and knowledge of how to recognise and respond appropriately.
The Commission report noted that “some attitudes and practices, and inadequate or ill-informed responses by faith leaders, risk exposing victims to ongoing abuse by family members” and that the “main barriers to women seeking help in their faith community were particular beliefs around divorce and gender roles”.
We want to see Christian leaders and communities become better able to wisely respond to victims and abusers. We want to engage the Australian Church by:
- providing a theological framing to the issue of domestic and family violence
- raising awareness of causes and pathways to addressing domestic violence
- providing a space for churches to pledge to take action on domestic violence, making their churches safe(r)
- providing resources for church leaders
- creating a space for Christians to tell and hear the human stories (both victims and perpetrators) that highlight possible pathways of change
- celebrating stories of church communities making a positive difference in this space.
- gathering a Christian community ready to be mobilised on this issue
- advocating for greater resourcing, support, understanding.