Family and Domestic
Violence in our Parishes
The Revd Gemma Baseley, Priest-in-Charge, Parish of Beaconsfield and member of the Family and Domestic Violence Working Group
Violence in our communities is unacceptable, whether that violence occurs in the street, in our home, in our workplaces or in our churches, and whether it is perpetrated by men or women.
Our Christian scriptures proclaim the equality of every human being and demand our behaviour towards others is characterised by the behaviour of God towards us – justice, love and mercy, compassion, patience and a mission to heal the sick and mend the broken hearted. The Anglican Church of Australia wants to prevent and to help address the terrible injustice of domestic and family violence, responding with care and compassion towards those affected.
|To facilitate this work, Perth Synod 2022 adopted the Ten Commitments for Preventing and Responding to Domestic and Family Violence. These Commitments, for the prevention of and response to domestic and family violence in the ACA, are a tool to help resource and empower the Anglican Church to bring about change and to continuously improve our preventative work.|
May is DV Awareness Month.
This is a time for all of us to speak up about domestic violence, raise awareness, and support survivors of this devastating but common issue.
Domestic and Family Violence isn’t always physical, it can be Financial, Emotional, Coercive Control, or Technological Abuse.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it is present in every community, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, religion, or nationality. Recent research shockingly revealed that Christian families are at least as likely (if not more likely) to be places where Family and Domestic Violence is a lived experience.
Family Domestic Violence Working Group: The Anglican Diocese of Perth
Following the adoption of the Ten Commitments, a Family Domestic Violence Working Group has been set up in the Diocese to resource and equip parishes and ministries with a response. This response will be formed by local knowledge, inspired by the work already being undertaken by General Synod and other dioceses around the country.
The month of May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month and aims to raise community awareness of the social and personal impacts of domestic and family violence, the need to end it, as well as the support services available to those affected by violence. The first Wednesday in May is set aside as Domestic Violence Remembrance Day; a national day to remember and honour those who have been killed by domestic and family violence. Whether held on that day, or acknowledged at another time in May, you may wish to hold a liturgical event with that as a focus. Candlelight Vigils have been one example that have been previously held to mark the day.
The FDV Working Group is currently working to produce liturgical resources to support services of lament and repentance and to remember, in prayer before God, those who are victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence.
What can be done?
It is important to acknowledge that FDV is an issue in whatever town, city, village, street or community you find yourself in. As many as 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will have experienced abuse or violence in their home. That is a significant number.
Perhaps we should begin with lamenting and repenting of our part in this crime and commit to making change, as we move forward.
Raising awareness of safety and providing information on support agencies is a practical way of responding, and building a brighter future. Could you display signs in your buildings that clearly demonstrate people, phone numbers and agencies that could help? Messages in pew sheets and newsletters might be a lifeline for some.
And perhaps you could add a purple bench to a public space…
The Purple Bench Project
First set up in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2015, purple benches are now springing up, slowly but surely, worldwide. Painted bright purple (the colour of FDV awareness and prevention, and to draw attention), each bench is situated in a public place and displays a plaque, in memory of those who have died through family or domestic violence. They also display local helpline numbers for those who find themselves in need.
If you are interested in ordering a plaque and/or a bench for your grounds, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Family and Domestic Violence
Help and support is available for you to help with support and safety planning - this may include access to information, emergency accommodation or help with legal issues.
Make This ‘16 Days’ Last All Year Long
In November each year, the spotlight is on the issue of family violence for ’16 Days in WA’.