“On average, every week one woman dies because of family violence; one of four children experience the fear and distress of witnessing their mother being abused.”
These were some of the alarming statistics revealed in the latest resource released by the Archdiocese of Perth’s Safeguarding Office dedicated to women and children titled “A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence.”
Inspired by the local government “16 days in WA” campaign, from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), the 32-paged resource covers topics including various forms of family and domestic violence, impacts of family and domestic violence on children, Catholic teaching on Domestic Violence, perpetrator characteristics and helplines in case of emergency.
The resource quotes Pope Francis’ 2016 exhortation, “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia) where the Holy Father acknowledges that domestic violence exists in families in our Church and declares that it is not something Catholics can turn a blind eye to.
“Pope Francis reiterates Canon 1153, saying that in cases where a spouse and children are experiencing violence and abuse, “separation becomes inevitable” and even “morally necessary” for their safety.”
At the official launch event for the resource on 25 November, Safeguarding Office Director Andrea Musulin offered some of the ways that the Catholic community can respond to situations of domestic and family violence.
“We don’t have to solve the problem – there are many professional organisations around to help with that,” Mrs Musulin said.
“It is important that all church workers are educated about this topic. It has become a significant part of what the Archdiocese of Perth has done through the Safeguarding Project.
“We need to communicate zero tolerance to violence at all forms in the community. We need to reflect on our own experiences and attitudes towards this issue, equip ourselves with the knowledge to assist those who ask for help, through referrals to specialist services where needed, do what we can in our relationships, parishes, communities, and organisations to eliminate violence and its impact,” she added.
Mrs Musulin added that the aim of the Church is to be a place of support and healing.
The resource is available by Clicking Here