Take action as a church:
Because domestic abuse happens in churches too. Few studies have been done, but a Methodist church study in the UK in 2002 identified that 1 in 4 women in the church experiences domestic abuse during her lifetime.
Our own study across 4 Latin American countries indicates that 1 in 3 adults in evangelical churches experienced domestic violence at some time in the last three years.
Domestic abuse occurs amongst women of all ages, backgrounds, education, wealth, race. It is likely there are women in your church and wider community who are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse. But such is the stigma that they keep quiet about it. (You can read some stories from Christian women who are survivors of domestic abuse here.)
We want to see the church as a place where:
- Women and men work together to take action to prevent violence – to speak out about it and to challenge attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate it.
- Survivors of domestic abuse feel safe to come forward for support – and for the church to be equipped and ready to respond, to offer healing and refuge and to point them to professional services.
So what can you do as a church?
- Download and complete our Church Self-Assessment – how good is your church at addressing domestic abuse? What easy steps could you take to do more?
- Download your FREE copy of our Church Pack. If you are in the UK you can order a printed copy of our NEW English language edition (published 8 March 2016) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, postal address and postcode, and 'Request for new Church Pack' as your subject line. The Church Pack gives an overview on what domestic abuse is, identifies the signs, dispels the myths, gives you useful do’s and don’ts on how to deal with domestic abuse, discusses what the Bible has to say, and identifies the key professional services to which you can direct any Christian women survivors who might need practical, legal and financial help.
- Sign up to attend a 3 hour module delivered in partnership with CCPAS or a whole day Training day – we offer this to church leaders, groups of churches and dioceses.
- Find out about the services available for women in your area and advertise them at your Church. If you're in the UK, download the national sources of help here, to display at your church. And here’s a poster you can use on the doors of toilets, to help women recognise what abuse looks like and, if they are experiencing it, to get help.
- Download ‘10 Tips from Survivors to help make your church a safer space’ and discuss at church.
- Contact us to request a speaker (UK only) to visit and give a one hour talk about violence against women, and what actions you can take to help end it.
- Follow us on Twitter and look out for the campaign #inchurchestoo, our campaign to highlight the issue of domestic abuse and that this happens ‘in churches too’. It aims to raise awareness of the issues, dispel some of the myths and equip Christians and Churches to respond appropriately, effectively and in line with good practice.
We released five film shorts or videos which highlight a particular area of domestic abuse, its impact, or our response. Some of these are designed to provoke discussion and a response and you might find them useful to use in a church context. The film shorts are found on our YouTube channel.
Statistics used in the videos:
- 25% of women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime (UK Home Office, 2007)
- 320 women a day are turned away from refuge. (Global Data Count, WAFE, 2011)
- 750,000 children witness domestic violence a year (Department of Health 2002)
- 25% of 16 year old girls physical violence, 72% emotional abuse (NSPCC, 2009)
- Cost of domestic violence each year is £15,730,000,000 (Walby 2009)
- 80% of teen mums experience abuse (AVA)
- Every 6 seconds a woman is assaulted in her own home (Data Count, 2000, Stanko)
- Men experiencing abuse at less risk post-separation (Respect)
- Information on false reporting of rape (DPP, 2013)