[Anglican Communion News Service] A major new resource by the Anglican Alliance and Anglican Consultative Council will equip churches to recognize and take action to prevent domestic abuse. The resource, Domestic Abuse and COVID-19: How Churches can respond, says that lockdown measures and restrictions on movement can “have an impact on the prevalence and severity of domestic abuse and gender-based violence,” and adds that “the increased fear, tension and lack of money can worsen a toxic environment where abuse can thrive unchallenged.”
It goes on to say that “the Church is well placed within communities to be a light and refuge in times of need and can reach into communities where governments cannot. Our Christian call is to love one another as Christ loved us and not to turn away from our own flesh and blood.”
The resource includes sections on what the Bible says about abuse, what domestic abuse is, and how big an issue domestic abuse is. It looks at the impact of Covid-19 on domestic abuse sets out practical action for church leaders and good neighbours; advice for victims and survivors; and challenges for perpetrators.
The resource’s author is Mandy Marshall, who recently joined the staff of the Anglican Communion Office as Director for Gender Justice. She said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a rise in domestic abuse around the world. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we, as a church community, are equipped to recognize the signs of abuse and respond appropriately.
“This key resource assists the churches in responding well and in line with good practice to domestic abuse. I recommend reading it, sharing it and acting on it.”
In preparing the report, Mandy Marshall was supported by a large number of contributors around the world, including Rob Dawes and Naomi Herbert from the Mothers Union in the UK, and Provincial Community Development co-ordinators from members of the Mothers’ Union worldwide.
The chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, Bev Julienne, said: “This is a timely resource addressing the very real issue faced and addressed by Mothers’ Union members around the world. This will provide an excellent framework for a practical response.”