A better way to deal with domestic abuse

CREDIT: Ryan Melaugh via flickr.com

After many years of hard work, our Anglican Diocese has developed a policy to help our churches provide the best possible care to people suffering from domestic abuse.

The policy was launched this week at the Anglican Diocese of Sydney Synod, our annual combined meeting of churches and organisations.

In launching the policy, Sandy Grant acknowledged that “clergy and church members have often been under-educated and naive; and on the other hand, sometimes over-confident in their insight or ability.”

He also recognised that “abuse can be hard to distinguish from regular conflict or dysfunction” and that “abusers can be very manipulative”, and so “extra detail and reinforcement of good practice is needed.”

After every member of the Synod united to accept this policy, we also supported this statement of grief, thanksgiving, prayer, regret, and apology:

“We grieve with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and pray for their healing and recovery. We give thanks to God for those women and men, clergy and lay people, who have faithfully supported, cared for and protected such victims in our churches and communities.

We grieve that God’s good gift of marriage can be distorted and dishonoured through the sin of perpetrators. We pray for their repentance and restoration to faithful living under Christ.

We also deeply regret that domestic abuse has occurred among those who attend our churches, and even among some in leadership. We apologise for those times our teaching and pastoral care have failed adequately to support victims and call perpetrators to account.”

If you or someone you know or love is experiencing domestic abuse, please speak to one of our ministers, or contact ‘1800 Respect’ by visiting 1800respect.org.au or calling 1800 737 732.

Jodie McNeill