Catholic Church Addresses Domestic Violence

Sep 16, 2008

Catholic dioceses are increasingly responsive to domestic violence, according to a survey released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the survey, 35 dioceses and archdioceses described their initiatives to help victims of domestic violence. Many report collaborating with community agencies to offer resources and assistance, and 31 of the 35 say they provide links to community resources like safe houses and counseling services. A majority also offer clergy education and advocacy for victims and their children.

Diocesan programs have grown steadily over the past 16 years, following publication of the Bishops’ document, “When I Call for Help” which outlines the church’s position and responsibilities toward those affected by domestic violence. To read “When I Call for Help,” click here.

In the survey, the Bishops said, “Many abused women seek help first from the Church because they see it as a safe place.”

“Domestic violence prevention remains a high priority for the Church,” said Sheila Garcia, Associate Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. “We did the survey with the hope that dioceses could benefit from each other about what’s working.”

The survey, “Diocesan Responses to Domestic Violence, was conducted last spring. To read the complete results, click here.

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