Learning to Build Bridges Between Churches and Community-Based Resources

Solid Shattered Multiple Pieces Healing Semi-finished Fully Healed

Bridge building has one major purpose: to connect two discrete bodies of land utilizing a common structure. RAVE wishes to assist churches and their leaders in paving the pathway between the steeple and the shelter, or spiritual guidance and practical support.

10 Reasons to Include Pastors Around the Collaborative Table on Domestic Violence

  1. Chosen by victims.
  2. Sought by perpetrators when the victim leaves the home.
  3. Invested with moral authority.
  4. Access to lives at the point of crisis.
  5. Provide educational resources to all age groups.
  6. Held as experts on “marriage” and the family.
  7. Able to offer spiritual comfort and guidance.
  8. Often in regular contact with those who are marginalized.
  9. Able to provide ongoing support after the crisis.
  10. Skilled in talking about hope.

Are clergy serious about abuse? Questions to ask a pastor…

  1. Do they offer a listening ear to an abused woman?
  2. Does their church washroom offer information about abuse?
  3. Does their congregation, or groups in it, partner with the local transition house?
  4. Do they make appropriate referrals to resources in the community?
  5. Is violence ever discussed in the church youth group?
  6. Is violence discussed in the pre-marital counselling?
  7. Do they realize the importance of spiritual resources for victims of abuse?
  8. Do they share the load for supporting families amongst the congregation?
  9. Do they offer ministry opportunities to those who have received the care and counsel of the church?
  10. Do they hold violent, controlling men accountable for their actions?

Did you know?

  • Pastors believe that one in five church couples is violent.
  • 9% of pastors have counselled 5+ abused women per year.
  • 83% of pastors have counselled one abused woman per year.
  • 31% of pastors say they have preached a message against abuse from the pulpit.
  • 40% of pastors say they discuss domestic violence in their premarital counselling.
  • 95% of church women have never heard a message on abuse preached from the pulpit.
  • 58% of church women have helped another abused woman at her point of need.
  • 70% of church women have sought the help of another woman for a family-related problem.
  • Many church women who have been violated by an intimate partner do not feel that the term “abused woman” applies to them.

The Role of Clergy in Responding to Cases of Domestic Violence

  • Raising awareness.
  • Suggesting referrals.
  • Offering comfort to those who have been victimized.
  • Bringing challenge to those who act abusively.
  • Providing ongoing support and accountability.

The Challenge of Working Together: Building Bridges for Collaborative Action
Two critical questions:

  1. Are churches safe places to disclose that you have been violated?
  2. Are community agencies safe places to disclose that you are religious?

Other Resources