7.5 Domestic abuse
The House of Bishops’ policy states that:
"The Church is committed to those who have been victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse in all its forms is contrary to the will of God and an affront to human dignity. All need to play their part in preventing or halting it’.
The welfare of the adult victim of domestic abuse is important, but where there are children in the family it must be understood that they too are victims of domestic abuse. Consideration of the child’s welfare always comes first. In all circumstances, contact the Haed of Safeguarding (HoS) who will help clarify the issues and steps needed. The HoS will undertake this work in conjunction with the chaplaincy and any local agencies (see Section 10).
What do you need to do in a chaplaincy?
- Chaplaincy Council to agree a Chaplaincy Domestic Abuse Statement including who to contact if there are concerns.
- Identify the local Safeguarding Officer as the point of contact for any advice and support.
- Follow the process on how to respond to safeguarding concerns or allegations.
- Support those in leadership positions, pastoral and safeguarding roles to engage in safeguarding training.
- Consider the best place to display the Domestic Abuse Statement including information about helplines and local services.
- Challenge inappropriate comments and behaviour by church members.
Recommended good practice:
- Encourage leaders and those who preach to speak against domestic abuse in teaching, sermons, prayers and parish magazines - remember that many of the congregation may have personal experience of domestic abuse.
- Offer some awareness-raising activities e.g. invite speakers from local domestic abuse agencies.
- Consider including activities around healthy relationships within activities for children and young people.
- Develop links with local domestic abuse organisations.
- Discuss domestic abuse in appropriate contexts such as marriage preparation, where appropriate.
- Organise courses in parenting and confidence-building.
- For further information please see House of Bishops’ Responding Well to Domestic Abuse Practice Guidance 2017.