The United Nations has designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. See https://www.un.org/en/observances/ending-violence-against-women-day
As Chaplains we are asked questions like: ‘I am in a abusive and/or violent relationship. Can I leave?’
Our answer is ‘Yes, you can and you should leave an abusive and/or violent relationship!’
Sadly, we recognise that abusive and violent relationships are a reality, and that these kind of relationships exist amongst church people, as they do in the general community.
Firstly, it is really important that you be physically and emotionally safe and we will support you. No one should remain in or accept an abusive relationship. [We condemn any teaching that suggests that you should accept or remain in an abusive relationship.]
Secondly, you can be assured that Defence Chaplains receive training to address family domestic violence. But Defence Chaplains, except in rare cases are not trained trauma counsellors. When you approach a Chaplain regarding family domestic violence, you should be expect them to listen compassionately and provide support to get the right qualified and experienced help and assistance. A Chaplain should continue to provide support following referral to another service but will do so in conjunction with family domestic violence experts.
Thirdly, if you would like more information to help you support people affected by family domestic violence, including working to prevent family domestic violence occurring in Church communities we recommend the Safer resource. https://www.saferresource.org.au/
Our recommended resource [Safer] aims to help Christian leaders and congregations.
- understand how domestic and family violence starts
- recognise different kinds of abuse
- find the right help for victims
- appropriately support people affected by abuse
- encourage perpetrators to change their behaviour.