Common Grace knows that the path to family violence is complex, and that the way back to safety is also complex, requiring a dedicated team of professionals and a network of support systems that actually work together to help pave the way.
We believe all victims should be able to receive the help they need to deal with trauma and move towards recovery. We also believe that perpetrators should always be held accountable for their violence and also (where appropriate) be able to access behaviour change programs to turn their lives around.
We know that when women leave their partners, they are jumping into a safety net that’s full of holes. Across Australia, the demand for refuges is so high that every second woman has to be turned away. We urgently need our government to properly resource our dangerously underfunded frontline services, so that no one ever has to be turned away from a service because it is full. We also desperately need Australian federal, state and territory governments to invest more in affordable housing options for people fleeing violence.
Christians should be at the forefront in advocating for a better system.
Responding to the Victorian Royal Commission
The Victorian Royal Commission report gave three specific recommendations for faith communities. 2 Below is a summary and a call to action to help you and your church and denomination to start talking and acting on these recommendations:
Create training packages on family violence for faith leaders
Read SAFER and your denomination’s training package
We have listed all the ones we know about here. Find out whether your denomination’s pastor training includes a component on domestic and family violence. If not, ask why not? If your Bible college, para-church organisation, or church does not have this training as part of the mandatory training schedule, direct them to this recommendation and call on your leaders to ensure change happens.
Women from faith communities should be included as part of a review of specialist family violence service providers.
Encourage open and honest sharing from your congregation and community members
Listen to victims and survivors. Create a safe space for women from all cultural backgrounds to openly raise issues relating to gender safety. Share that information with your state and federal government representatives.
Examine the ways that leaders and your community respond to family violence.
Audit your church
How good is your church at addressing domestic abuse? What easy steps could you take to do more? Insist that both your local church as well as your entire denomination does a self-assessment. You can download self-assessment tools here and here.