Online training is on its way to help ministry teams identify, understand and respond to domestic abuse. As part of the diocesan response to domestic abuse, the course is in the testing phase and will be unveiled at Synod next month.
One woman per week is killed by a current or former partner
“Domestic abuse is a serious and prevalent social issue in Australia,” says Anglicare family and domestic violence advisor Lynda Dunstan. “On average, one woman per week is killed by a current or former partner, and just recently a report was released indicating that domestic violence is on the increase across many parts of NSW.”
Anglicare has joined forces with Safe Ministry Training to produce the online course, titled ‘kNOw domestic abuse’. It will help ministry teams understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and how it affects victims, including children.
“The training focuses on how to recognise domestic abuse, how to respond sensitively to victims while prioritising their safety, and how to hold those who perpetrate abuse in their intimate relationships accountable for their behaviour in the hope that they would repent and change,” Ms Dunstan says.
“The goal of the training is to have those in ministry well informed about domestic abuse and to know where to seek professional advice to support those impacted. It is not designed to make ministers ‘experts’ but equipped and supported to respond well, and refer [to professionals] appropriately.”
It is not designed to make minister experts
The course builds on the Domestic Abuse Policy that was passed by Synod last year. The online training can be completed by an individual but has been particularly designed to be completed in groups by ministry teams, with opportunities for discussion and learning together. It leads participants through a range of topics with interactive activities, videos and text to read.
While the new course will be accessed through the Safe Ministry Training website, face-to-face training for congregations will continue to be offered by Anglicare.
“Those in ministry are well placed to support victims in both the church and local community: listening, believing and providing ongoing pastoral support,” Ms Dunstan says.
Listening, believing and providing ongoing support
“A caring, understanding response can be the first step to a victim feeling able to reveal their story and take steps toward safety and healing, whereas an uninformed response can put the victim at greater risk of serious harm as well as doing great spiritual damage.”
For inquiries about face-to-face training for congregations contact Lynda Dunstan at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the kNOw Domestic Abuse course see https://safeministry.training.