Quick escape (ESC)


Churches and pastors are uniquely positioned to respond helpfully in situations of abuse, but they often lack the resources and training to do so appropriately. This is the reason we created SAFER.

On this page
Content warning This page involves descriptions and discussion of the experiences and impacts of domestic and family violence. Some survivors might find its content troubling.

Across the world, across the nation, across our communities, we know that violence is being perpetrated. One of the quietest forms of violence, dulled behind closed doors, is abuse and control in the home.

In recent years, the Australian media has shone a spotlight on domestic and family violence. Communities have rallied to the cause. But many church members have not yet been able to wrestle with the idea that they are likely to have victims – and abusers – sitting next to them in Sunday services.

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9

What would it mean for churches to invest in this call for safety and justice? What would it mean for congregations to open their eyes and their hearts to people struggling in abusive relationships? What could it mean for the church to collectively and loudly cry “no more”?

What we want to see

Our hope is that SAFER will provoke critical self-reflection in many church communities and give courage to those who want to be heard to speak up. We hope that SAFER will provide the skills to those around them to listen and support them when they do.

How we developed this resource

We have relied on robust research and reliable data to develop SAFER. You’ll see we’ve footnoted key sources along the way. We have also worked with domestic and family violence specialists, psychologists, social workers, policy specialists, and clergy to develop this resource to be as effective as possible.

We also welcome suggestions of new material to update this resource. If you come across relevant research, blog posts or media articles, please send them to [email protected].

Who is this resource for?

SAFER is dedicated to anyone who has suffered from domestic and family violence, and especially to those whom the church has failed.

Trigger Warning

To any survivors of violence, we wish to warn you that SAFER involves descriptions and discussions of violence and abuse. Some survivors might find its content distressing.

While we want you to engage with this resource, we also want to safeguard your wellbeing in using this material. Please take care as you read.


This project has been a significant undertaking for Common Grace and our grateful thanks go to the members of the Common Grace Domestic and Family Violence Campaign team who created SAFER.

SAFER would not have been possible without the concept development and leadership of Natalie Lammas Williams who developed the material and offered guidance at each stage of the project.

Our thanks also go to the following individuals who authored key content:

  • Caryn Rogers
  • Felicity Errington
  • Erica Hamence

We gratefully acknowledge those who assisted with advice and review:

  • Rachel Neary
  • Jessica Carroll Smith
  • Kylie Maddox Pidgeon

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of the following organisations in the funding of this resource:

  • Anglican Deaconess Ministries
  • St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway