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
Launching in 2017: SAFER, a Common Grace resource equipping Australian Christians to address Domestic and Family Violence.
Common Grace is producing a web-based resource/tool-kit that provides practical, accessible, best-practice materials for christians on:
The resource will be based on existing materials and the latest research from Australian secular and Christian sources.
In Australia, most violent crimes have been in decline, but the rates of domestic and sexual violence are soaring. Gendered violence has escalated to the point that now two women are killed each week - twice the historical average. In 2015, 79 women were killed in Australia, the majority of them by male partners. This is a key justice issue in Australia.
The recent Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence report contained a specific section and several specific recommendations on faith communities. The Commission noted that the faith leaders they consulted demonstrated a strong commitment to responding to family violence but that they lacked the understanding and knowledge of how to recognise family violence and respond appropriately.
The Commission also noted that “some attitudes and practices, and inadequate or ill-informed responses by faith leaders, risk exposing victims to ongoing abuse by family members”. The Commissioners noted that the “main barriers to women seeking help in their faith community were particular beliefs around divorce and gender roles”.
The primary recommendation made by the Commission was that: “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.”
We know that in some cases churches have responded in wonderfully supportive ways to victims. However, sadly there have been times when churches have not addressed the issue well at all, and have let victims down, and sometimes put them even more at risk.
The Victorian Royal Commission concluded that churches have a “vital opportunity” to reach people affected by family violence. The Common Grace campaign wants the Australian church to take advantage of this opportunity and learn how to respond to family violence appropriately and effectively.
Since the Common Grace campaign began in October 2015, we have heard from key church leaders that they would take action to reduce domestic violence if they had the resources and training to do so. There is a wide variety of secular and Christian resources already available, but most are not particularly accessible and very few provide practical and easy-to-use ministry tools. This is why Common Grace is creating a resource that can be an online “one stop shop” for church leaders and faith communities with links to further reading.
The scope of the project is to develop a practical, accessible and readable resource based on existing and relevant evidence-based secular and Christian material produced in Australia within the last five years.
The resource is aimed at church leaders to help them lead and educate faith communities on how to recognise, prevent and respond to domestic violence in their communities. The resources are intended to help churches provide suitable wrap-around support at a local level (including referral to specialist services) for people affected with domestic violence, depending on their resources and levels of expertise.
Do you know of a great resource or a fabulous organisation in the Australian church that should be included in SAFER? Do you want to be part of SAFER's launch or have an idea to share? Let us know here.
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.
Paula Glassborow reflects on her professional and church experiences working with people experiencing family violence, and calls us to acknowledge what we don’t yet know, and commit to learning more.
Share the Dignity is a fantastic opportunity to contribute in a seemingly small way to make a profound difference to women and mothers staying in shelters and refuges. Read about one Caseworker's experience of care packages