Faith in action
SAFER is a brand new online resource produced to help churches support and prioritise victims of domestic and family violence, and know how to deal with perpetrators.Read more
This post includes a discussion of violence and abuse. Please take care as you read.
In case you missed it, yesterday was a big day for Domestic and Family Violence prevention. When we talk about Domestic & Family Violence we rightly and importantly emphasize and reiterate – because it requires repeating until we all realise the reality – that Domestic & Family Violence is gendered and it is an epidemic. We give definitions, we cite statistics, we shine a light on what is happening in our churches, in our communities, and all over Australia, and some of us even share with you from our own experiences. One side of the coin, is pointing out where we can, and must, do better to change the culture (the systems, behaviours, and attitudes) which allow violence against women and their children to occur. The other side of the coin is acknowledging when progress is being made. When individuals and organisations are taking steps forward in the tough but necessary work of identifying and challenging the culture. Here I report on yesterday’s 3 news articles on Domestic & Family Violence prevention.
The ABC shared the ‘No Test’, a clear and simple tool to help women identify potentially abusive partners. The Domestic Violence Counsellor who devised the test, Rob Andrew, explains "The No Test is basically to watch out for the way your partner responds the first time you change your mind or say no." Expressing disappointment over, for example, a date having to be cancelled is an acceptable response. A response which shows signs of ownership or entitlement is unacceptable.
It is clear that some repositioning work needs to be done to challenge the narrative (the culture, behaviours and systems) that reinforces victim-blaming and deficit-thinking (like If only she’d been more assertive. If only I had done things differently.). This kind of thinking is never the answer. "The only person who can stop the abuse is the person who is doing the abusing."
You can read more about the No Test here.
In my first post as Domestic & Family Violence Team Lead for Common Grace, I asked the question “Could we have prevented the deaths of Jack, Jennifer and Olga Edwards?” The answer is of course we could have. Nine News reported on a speech the NSW Law Society President, Elizabeth Espinosa, gave marking the start of the law term. "The death of Olga and her two children could have been prevented - it is our social responsibility as community leaders to change the story and prevent violence against women and children." To change the story, we need law-makers, advocates, researchers, counsellors, first-line responders, and all kinds of experts and professionals working together. It is key that the NSW Law Society will be working closely with Our Watch.
You can read more about this news here.
Our Watch (an independent non-profit initiative established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and their children) launched Unpacking Violence: a storytelling resource for understanding non-physical forms of abuse and the gendered drivers of violence against women. This is part of the No Excuse for Abuse campaign funded by the Australian Government.
The multi-purpose resource not only includes guidance notes for practitioners, it also includes seven short stories which are designed to demonstrate, and help identify and understand, non-physical forms of abuse. Did you know that half of all Australians find it difficult to recognise non-physical forms of abuse between two partners? This resource could change someone’s life. It could save someone’s life.
You can read more about Unpacking Violence here.
There is still much work to be done to prevent and respond to Domestic and Family violence, but it is our hope that you may find some solace in the news that three moments of progress in the work were all announced yesterday. Resources are being developed and partnerships are being made in order to change the culture (the systems, behaviours, and attitudes) which allows violence against women and their children.
Erica Hamence identifies 10 things that will need to change for Christian communities to be safer places.
Facing the depth of the church’s problem with Domestic & Family Violence isn’t a quick-fix positive story
Erin Martine Sessions, from our Domestic & Family Violence team, reports on progress being made in the prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.
Erin Martine Sessions, our new Domestic Violence Team Lead, writes about equipping Christian Leaders to prevent and respond to domestic and family violence.