What To Do

Here’s a list of simple, practical activities that any parish can engage in to raise awareness of domestic abuse and develop confidence in responding appropriately when abuse is suspected or reported. If you need further help or advice, please contact your diocesan safeguarding coordinator, your diocesan marriage and family life coordinator or a Caritas-Social Action Network member agency. Or email the Domestic Abuse Working Group at gail.sainsbury@cbcew.org.uk
  • Preach with an awareness that 1 in 4 of the congregation may have experience of domestic abuse.
  • Regularly include prayers for those experiencing domestic abuse in the prayers of intercession.
  • Display the helpline stickers on the inside of all toilet doors.
  • Make a telephone freely available for victims to seek help so that their phone bill will not give them away.
  • Be aware that those who experience communication difficulties may need parish assistance to seek help
  • Give all parish volunteers a copy of the prayer card
  • Invite a speaker from the local Refuge, police force or MARAC to a parish meeting or use our podcasts to engage parishioners in this issue
  • Organise awareness-raising and information meetings for clergy, Eucharistic ministers, parish visitors, safeguarding reps, family life ministers, catechists, youth workers, women’s and men’s groups etc using some of these resources and/or other locally available resources.  Collaborate with other parishes in the deanery or local pastoral area.
  • Order copies of the NBCW domestic abuse resource pack
  • Find out who has expertise already in the parish through their professional or volunteering experiences.
  • Establish a parish domestic abuse policy building on the information and sample policies available on this website.
  • Talk to the chair of your local domestic violence forum (probably facilitated by the local authority) about inviting a pastoral leader to attend this forum. There are two very good reasons to do this:
  1. Around 45% of those women murdered as a result of domestic violence did not contact statutory agencies, but they may have contacted other people like religious ministers, friends, family and other community persons. So, knowledge of risk factors and domestic violence generally, needs to be developed in the community where individuals are disclosing abuse.
  2. Priests or other pastoral leaders can grow in awareness through attending the forum, of individuals and organisations to whom they can refer parishioners or other persons suffering abuse.
  • Raise money for victims of domestic abuse; lack of resources can prevent someone seeking sanctuary
  • Be clear that whenever a child is a witness to domestic abuse, it becomes a safeguarding issue and the proper procedures must be followed.