What would you do if …
… a child tells you that “Daddy hits Mummy”?
… during couples’ counselling, one spouse is very controlling, answers all the questions and does not allow their partner to respond?
… a teenage boy constantly puts down or criticises his girlfriend in public?
… a young mum tells you that she has no access to family bank accounts, and only gets small amounts of money she asks her husband for?
Sadly these questions are not hypothetical. Domestic and family violence really happens in all communities, and victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse are present in every local congregation and faith community.
Discovering that abuse is present in someone’s life might emerge through an honest conversation, through a crack in the veneer of a publicly perfect relationship, or through witnessing a tense moment between a couple when they think no one else can see them.
Part of caring for others means taking notice of people’s private pain – and asking them how you can help.
If you are reading this for yourself and not simply as a church leader, this section will also help you understand more about respectful relationships generally, and about any possible abuse that might be occurring in your own relationships.
In this section
- What is abuse?
- More than physical violence
- The evidence
- Who is a victim?
- Why don’t victims just leave?
- Children who witness family violence
- Respectful relationships
- Community attitudes towards family violence
- Gender inequality