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Commentary on

Faith & Abuse

Religion plays a very important role in the lives of many victims of domestic violence. Many women have report that their faith and faith community provided essential support when leaving an abusive relationship, and found their religion to be a comfort to them in very difficult times.

Below is a list of ways in which faith communities can assist survivors of domestic violence:


  1. Get involved.

    • Make connections with your local domestic violence program.

    • Co-sponsor a training on domestic violence.

    • Partner with domestic violence organizations or become a part of your local domestic violence coordinated community response.

  2. Support domestic violence organizations.

    • Help a domestic violence organization by taking a special offering, raising money or making donations.

    • Volunteer your time or resources to a domestic violence organization.

    • Offer free space for domestic violence support groups or training's.

  3. Educate your faith community.

    • Put domestic violence information your bulletin or newsletter. Ask someone from your local domestic violence program to write an article.

    • Invite a representative from the domestic violence program to speak to church groups, subcommittees, or at meetings.

    • Have information such as posters with the local domestic violence programs phone number available in clergy offices, in restrooms, and at women’s meetings.

    • Understand that abusive individuals tend to be manipulative and coercive and will often make promises to change, yet rarely keep those promises.

    • Address domestic violence in Sunday School or at children’s classes or youth groups. For example, children can take a “Hands Are Not for Hitting” pledge where they trace and color their own hands and sign a promise not to use their hands for violence.

    • Talk about domestic violence in sermons or messages from faith leaders.

  4. Make your faith community a safe space and support abuse survivors

    • Make it clear, that your house of worship is a place that a person can talk to someone about abuse and be supported.

    • Intervene when you suspect abuse is occurring. Talk to the couple separately and help the victim plan for safety. Know about community resources for both the abusive individual and the victim.

    • Do not engage in any victim blaming and remember only the abuser is responsible for the choice to be violent.

    • Reinforce to survivors (and their children) that abuse is never their fault.

    • Support the survivor in her decisions, regardless of if they are the same decisions you would make.


Go to for fantastic resources on faith communities and effective ways to respond to domestic violence. Click on the tab below for a downloadable article about religious issues and domestic violence.

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