Creating A Safe Environment (C.A.S.E.)
Friday, April 28, 2017
SUGGESTED GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE POLICY FOR YOUR CHURCH
I. STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John3:16 KLV)." And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, this is the first commandment (Matthew 22:37 KJV).
The great God of the universe loves us. He wants us to love Him, each other, and ourselves. Therefore, abuse was never a part of God's original plan for humankind.
Violence is incompatible with love. Violent relationships break The greatest commandment.
We know that the Holy Spirit neither produces nor condones abuse for love and gentleness are two attributes of BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-23)
Domestic violence is a serious problem affecting all racial and ethnic groups.
For centuries, the church has been silent surrounding the topic of domestic violence, as a result, in the pews of every church, every Sunday sit both perpetrator and victim. Therefore faith based organizations are critical in decreasing the prevalence, teaching prevention and modeling "shalom."
The effects of domestic violence are devastating--destroying families, taking the lives of women and children, emotionally, traumatizing the young people who witness it, increasing the numbers of Black men and women in jail, and contributing to substance abuse and homelessness.
FURTHER, domestic violence and intimate partner abuse takes many forms; such as physical, psychological/emotional, and economic violence. Included are beatings, sexual abuse, overt and covert intimidation, isolation, verbal abuse, misuse and/or abuse or destruction of assets and valuables, destruction of self-esteem, and violence and abuse to the children. The violence and abuse that children witness is usually reproduced in their lives as they become adults and perpetuate the violence upon others, creating a continuous cycle;
For years the church has served as the information headquarters in the Community and the pastor has served as the spokesperson for the community. We conjecture, the church is in a leadership position and as leaders have the power to speak out against the sin and crime of Domestic Violence. However, if the church continues to keep silent and does not speak out against this problem, we will continue to hear the cries of the victims From the grave.
We will break the silence at (your Church) concerning this deplorable violence in the family and address this social and spiritual ill by providing awareness and sensitivity education regarding the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. We want to take a "wholistic" approach to eradicate the sin of DV, by preaching and teaching accountability to perpetrators, preaching and teaching healing and wholeness, spiritually, mentally and physically to victims and perpetrators.
We resolve as (your church), and the Body of Christ to listen to the stories of survivors and to obtain information and guidance which will lead us to wiser and more effective ways of ministry with persons who experience domestic and sexual abuse. The (your church) will be a refuge and safe haven for people who are hurting, and is an entirely appropriate place for these issues to be addressed. We will find ways to demonstrate that (your church) is a place where people can feel confident in turning first, not last, for comfort, sound counseling and healing.
II. POLICY STATEMENT
Domestic violence is a complex set of behaviors, reflecting theological, spiritual, psychological, cultural, racial and political issues. Therefore, a clear statement of the illegal, immoral, sinful and destructive nature of such violence needs to underpin any policies which would lead to effective intervention and prevention of domestic violence among a religious congregation and within the formal organization providing for the faith life of such a congregation.
An effective policy would include ZERO TOLERANCE for intimate partner violence and sexual abuse and at least the following elements:
A. A comprehensive definition of domestic/intimate partner violence.
B. Commitment to a physically, spiritually and psychologically safe worship and working environment.
C. A requirement for domestic violence awareness education among church staff and lay leadership.
D. A protocol for reporting domestic violence victim incidents to law enforcement.
E. A protocol for the inclusion of intervention for domestic violence issues in pastoral care and counseling.
F. A protocol for the inclusion of domestic violence awareness and issues in curriculum for Christian
G. A protocol for employee assistance for staff members who are victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
H. A resource directory of community help and support for domestic violence victims and perpetrators.