In any congregation there are likely to be a number of people who are currently being subjected to domestic abuse, or who have been subjected to it in the past.
There are also likely to be perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Safe in Faith provides training and information to help you respond more safely to situations of domestic abuse. The following information may be helpful but there are links to more information below.
Safe Support for Survivors
If someone is in urgent danger
Call 999 immediately if someone is at imminent risk of harm.
If children are involved: where possible follow your diocesan or faith community’s safeguarding policy. Where that is not possible, contact local social services or NSPCC.
If someone needs an emergency injunction contact Rights of Women (link) or your local domestic abuse agency.
Other things you can do
Get to know your local domestic abuse agency so that you can make warm referrals.
Be aware that every time you preach, victims, survivors and perpetrators are likely to be listening. How might they interpret or use your words?
Responding safely to perpetrators
NEVER approach a perpetrator to discuss their abusive behaviour, even if you know them. There is a significant increase in risk if they know their victim has been talking to someone about the abuse.
If someone approaches you because they are concerned that they are harming someone they love, signpost them to Respect Phoneline.
Be aware that abusers can be very charming and manipulative. They will often blame their victim, or try to convince you that they have changed their ways. Do not assume that a perpetrator is now safe just because they have repented, or even if they have attended a behaviour change programme.
Do not recommend couple counselling, family therapy or anger management programmes for perpetrators.
If a child or vulnerable adult is at risk, follow your diocesan or faith community’s safeguarding programme. For Catholic churches you can contact the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency here.
To find out more about our free training events for clergy, religious or parish workers, please contact us.
A directory of trained clergy and religious leaders (male and female) who can provide brief spiritual support and signposting for survivors of domestic abuse. The directory will be launched in November 2022.
Restored Courses – High-quality training to equip and enable churches to better respond to domestic abuse.
Restored Beacons – A network of churches, standing together against domestic abuse and supporting survivors, designed to provide support and encouragement to leaders, as well as to help Christian survivors find a church where they can belong.