NSW religious leaders unite to help end domestic violence

NSW religious leaders unite to help end domestic violence

More than 70 prominent religious leaders representing all major faiths signed a declaration on Tuesday 22 November, with the NSW Government to help end domestic violence.

The Moderator, Rev. Simon Hansford signed the declaration on behalf of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT.

The declaration, which was developed in consultation with leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh communities, included a number of commitments drafted and agreed to by the interfaith group to address, respond to and speak out against acts of domestic violence and better support victims.

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the declaration demonstrated a whole of community response to domestic and family violence.

“This declaration by senior faith leaders has helped create a united sense of purpose, ownership and commitment to reduce the prevalence of domestic and family violence,” Mrs Ward said.

“Everyone can make a difference and be a part of the change in ensuring domestic and family violence is neither excused nor ignored in our community.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said when community and religious leaders and the NSW Government work together, everyone benefits.

“We know these leaders play an incredibly important role within their respective communities and are looked to for guidance and information,” Mr Coure said.

“The NSW Government recognises this and our partnership with them is the key to connecting with communities more effectively, especially when it comes to important issues like domestic and family violence.

“We have been actively working with these leaders to provide them with the skills and information they need to help people when they are approached or engaging with their communities.”

Rev. Simon Hansford said the signing of the declaration signified a momentous occasion, bringing together a diverse group of faith leaders to formally commit to working with the NSW Government in ending family violence: “Domestic and family violence occurs across the whole of society, and it does not discriminate. We acknowledge that communities have not always been a safe place for victims, survivors, and the families of those who experience domestic violence and as such we accept the important role that we as leaders have in addressing domestic and family violence in all its forms.”

Information for religious and community leaders responding to domestic and family violence can be found here.

The NSW Interfaith Domestic and Family Violence Declaration

We as leaders of our Faith, together with the NSW Government affirm that domestic and family violence is unacceptable in all its forms. Domestic and family violence occurs across the whole of our society, and it does not discriminate. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

We acknowledge that communities have not always been a safe place for victims, survivors, and their families, and because of that, we accept the important role we have in addressing domestic and family violence and commit to:

• Listening to victims of domestic and family violence and supporting them to access the help they need.
• Engaging with our communities to promote awareness and the respectful behaviours to prevent domestic and family violence.
• Accessing information and resources about domestic and family violence to support our communities.
• Denouncing harmful attitudes that contribute to domestic and family violence.
• Encouraging those who commit domestic and family violence to take responsibility and to own their actions.
• Respond and speak out against domestic and family violence.

We as leaders will promote dignity and respect and send messages to our communities that condemn domestic and family violence. Together with the NSW Government we will proactively work towards the reduction of domestic and family violence.

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