Caritas Westminster’s work to support people of faith who have been victims of domestic abuse, was recognised recently when the founder of Safe In Faith was given an honorary fellowship of the Association of Christians in Counselling.
Nikki Dhillon Keane was awarded the fellowship on 3 January “in recognition of her work to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse in faith settings, developing training for clergy and counsellors and the development of the Safe in Faith Network and website.”
Nikki Dhillon Keane founded Safe in Faith in November 2021, in response to the need for a faith-informed response to victims of domestic abuse. Women like “Maggie” (not her real name) who turned to her parish priest after enduring over 25 years of dangerous abuse from her husband, only to be told to pray and thank God for her suffering. In desperation, she sought help from her local domestic abuse service, who advised her to give up her faith. As a result, she returned to her husband and endured five more years of abuse. By the time she found informed help from within the Church, she was lucky to be alive.
You can read more about the relationship between faith and domestic abuse, including how someone’s faith can be used as a tool to abuse them (spiritual abuse) in Nikki’s blog here.
Nikki’s work with Safe in Faith, as well as her equally valuable role as a counsellor for Deaf people and founder of Signs of Hope, were covered in an interview in The Tablet in December. We have been given permission to publish the article here.
Safe in Faith is building a Network of counsellors, psychotherapists, pastoral workers, therapeutic practitioners, trainees and other helping professionals with an interest in working at the intersection of faith and domestic and sexual abuse. We are also building a directory of trained clergy and religious leaders (male and female) who can provide brief spiritual support and signposting for survivors of domestic abuse. Anyone interested in joining these networks, or receiving training, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org