Family Violence

Church searching own soul on family violence

The Uniting Church has acknowledged that family violence is not someone else’s problem.

A proposal brought to Synod 2017 said the Church should take the opportunity to “respond again with clarity and from theological convictions that family violence in any form is intolerable”.

In presenting the proposal Bethany Broadstock said the simple intent was to remind the Church that when they are talking about domestic violence they are talking about what happens in churches as well.

“We must name injustice including in the Church’s own life,” Ms Broadstock said, adding that such honesty and integrity is needed if the Church is to be listened to on this or other issues.

She noted that the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence had said faith communities and leaders had not always responded ideally to the issue.

The Commission recommended that religious organisations review how reports of family violence were received and acted on.

Part of the proposal asked Synod Standing Committee to report on this to the next Synod.

Another part of the proposal called for the rejection of “any abuse of theology to legitimate family violence”.

The proposal also recommended that the committee consider resources to help the wider Church combat family violence.

A Synod member spoke in support of the proposal and said she had experienced violence from her mother who had, at least in part, justified this with theology.

A question from the floor made the point that sometimes family violence was justified under the “blanket” of being a cultural matter and this was something that had to be clearly repudiated.

There was some debate over whether the proposal should be aimed at the wider church or the Uniting one and the latter view prevailed.

Another said the resources were needed in this area and gen sec Mark Lawrence said he would make sure that part of the proposal was underlined.