Timeline of statements on Domestic Violence

Russell Powell
Read Timeline of statements on Domestic Violence

A summary of major public statements from Diocesan Leadership on the issue of Domestic Violence

October 2012 - Annual presidential address by then Archbishop Peter Jensen

At the heart of family is marriage, understood as the union of two persons of the opposite sex from different families by way of promises of permanence and exclusion. If the promises reflect, as they do in the Book of Common Prayer, the differences between man and woman as well as the equality, it is always to be understood that the headship of the man brings with it the awesome responsibility to nurture and cherish as Christ loved and cherished his church. To use this, as some have, as an excuse to demand slave like servility, or even to engage in physical and emotional bullying is to misuse it utterly and no wife should feel spiritually obliged to accept such treatment. Here too sin takes and distorts what is for our good in its own evil interests. Likewise, however, to treat husband and wife as two simply interchangeable ‘partners’ is to court damage to the fabric of the family itself. Even more damaging, of course, is the modern habit of living together without the benefit of the public promises – an inherently unstable relationship. Still more damaging is the current encouragement to casual promiscuity.

October 2015 Annual Presidential address- Archbishop Glenn Davies

While I welcome this Task Force (on Domestic Violence), it grieves me that we need it. It is a salutary reminder of the corrosive effects of sin even in the believer, that men who profess Christ should treat their wives with such contempt, inflicting either verbal or physical abuse upon those whom they have promised ‘to love and to cherish, till death us do part.’ This is not the way of Christ. It should not characterise the bride of Christ. It does not reflect, despite the accusations of some, the inevitable consequences of the doctrine of headship in marriage. What it does demonstrate, regrettably, is that in the words of the 
Thirty-nine Articles: ‘in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good’ (Article xxvi). If even Satan can use the words of Holy Scripture to tempt our Lord, it is not difficult to concede that the Evil One can twist good doctrines to his own evil purposes. That Christian women are caught in such a vulnerable situation at the hands of those who abuse their responsibilities as husbands is both horrendous and inexcusable. It is therefore important that we address this issue with honesty, compassion and resolve, so that we may protect those who suffer any form of domestic abuse and find ways to prevent its reoccurrence, especially in the household of God.

January 2017, Public Statement by Archbishop Glenn Davies (reported by Daily Telegraph)

I wish to say again, unequivocally, that domestic violence has no place in any Christian church. The Bible’s teaching of a husband's loving, sacrificial, servant-like leadership leaves absolutely no room for violence or intimidation.  Controlling behaviour, psychological abuse or demeaning treatment of a partner or family member is the opposite of the love and care which characterises followers of Jesus. We sound warnings through our theological education, professional standards training and from our pulpits that such conduct is unacceptable for any Christian man or woman.Experts tell us that such abhorrent behaviour seldom has a single cause. Therefore, I fully support the work of our Domestic Violence Task Force in researching risk factors and developing pastoral guidelines for our clergy to respond to the problem of domestic violence wherever they encounter it, both inside and outside our churches.

June 2017, Archdeacon Kara Hartley, Archdeacon for Women

The misuse of power is at the heart of the sin of Domestic Violence. Yet in the Lord Jesus we see the powerful Son of God who calms the storms, heals the sick, who has power over creation and people, give up his life for the sake of others. Mark 10:45: he didn’t come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. This is great love, sacrificial love and the kind of love we ought to show one another.

July 2017, ABC Interview Archbishop Glenn Davies (section not aired)

I want to hold husbands to account not only to the commitments they have made to their wife but commitments they have made to Christ. I am speaking to our church members here. (ABC Question: What would you like say to a man in one of the congregations in this area who is abusive towards his spouse?) Be the man of God that God has called you to be. Love your wife as you love yourself. Do no harm to her as you would do no self-harm. Care for her. Love her. Nourish her. Cherish her and do not lay a hand upon her. Do not let an abusive word come out of your mouth which would demean her or undermine her confidence as your wife and as the mother of your children. If you refuse to do that, then you are disobeying God and there are consequences for that.



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