SAFER Confronts Domestic Violence
Content warning: discussion of domestic violence
On 27 November, Common Grace released ‘SAFER’ a new online portal that helps churches identify and respond to domestic violence.
The new portal follows the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November (also known as White Ribbon Day).
It kicks off the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (10 December).
The launch of SAFER follows reports that church settings have fostered high instances of domestic violence.
According to journalist Julia Baird, SAFER is “an excellent, comprehensive resource on
domestic abuse. The kind of resource the church has needed for decades.”
“A much-needed must-read,” she said.
Common Grace’s Natalie Williams told Eternity that most leaders “don’t understand, recognise or know how to respond appropriately to domestic violence. They often miss indicators of abuse or can sometimes go on as if it doesn’t exist in their communities.”
“Sometimes, the church has responded well. But unfortunately, very often, the church has responded in ways that have left victims unsafe. And we know that some church doctrines and practices can be used by perpetrators to excuse or minimise abuse and have also created barriers for women to be safe and seek help,” Ms Williams said.
SAFER explores how certain church doctrines can be fraught for survivors, such as teachings on forgiveness and divorce. It also includes sections on how perpetrators groom church leaders, how to hold perpetrators accountable, and the place of faith in recovery from abuse.
The Uniting Church South Australia Synod has previously released a resource called Beyond Violence, a webpage with information regarding how to identify domestic violence, and services that can help.
Common Grace is a non-denominational movement of Christians who are “passionate about Jesus and justice.”
SAFER can be accessed here
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ editor