Dealing with domestic violence within the church can be challenging.

Often, a couple attends the same church so we lean toward the power of prayer. We pray to keep the victims safe and to put peace in the abuser’s heart so that the violence will stop. Because of the inherent complexity, members of the church often avoid direct confrontation of the issue.

Many, many victims are strong in their faith. Because they are looking to their faith for strength and answers, the role of the church becomes so important. Victims need to hear from the pulpit that domestic violence is wrong, that they are not to blame, that it is a choice to use abusive behaviors to control others. They need to hear that they are believed and that the church or synagogue will take action steps to provide safety and support for those suffering.

We hope you will distribute this bulletin insert created by the Faith Institute and encourage your faith leader to speak about the issue this month.

Ask if your place of worship has protocols in place to guide a response when domestic violence happens in your faith family.  These guidelines should define responses for all involved — the minister, congregation, church leaders, and those dealing with the violence. We can help you develop these policies. Together, we can create safety and support that makes our community a healthy place to raise our families.

This post is part of our 17 Days/17 Ways campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.