How Can I Help?

How can I help as a member, leader, or pastor in my church?

    What your church can do:
  1. Educate yourselves:
    • Watch a video on Domestic Violence and the Church, such as "Broken Vows", available from Faith Trust Institute.
    • book coverRead When Love Hurts, by Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis.
    • Read books on the subject, like What Every Pastor Should Know About Domestic Violence by Al Miles.
    • Educate your congregation by hosting a Domestic Violence seminar at your church. Invite speakers (community advocates, professionals), and open it to the public.

  2. Display literature in your church foyer, explaining family violence and sexual assault.
  3. Put up posters in the stalls of the women's bathrooms, describing what abuse looks like, and providing contact information of someone willing to talk with and help a woman who is hurting. See an example here.
  4. Have a 'go-to' woman in your church, maybe even put her name on the above-mentioned poster, so the victim can seek her out herself. Encourage women in your leadership to consider linking up with other Christian women in your community who are working with abuse victims. As they train and work, support them verbally, emotionally, and financially.
  5. Have community service phone numbers and information readily available to give to hurting women. Have plenty of copies, and keep the information updated.
  6. Provide ongoing biblical support to hurting women and families.
  7. Periodically preach a sermon against domestic violence and sexual assault. Lead by EXAMPLE. Speak about zero tolerance for domestic violence from the pulpit and in your classes.
  8. If you suspect violence is occurring in your church families, speak to your leaders immediately.

Cautions:

DO NOT EVER counsel couples together when there is violence--this would almost certainly put the woman in increased danger after they leave your office. Even speaking to the woman while the man is present is a bad idea. Let both parties know, separately, that help is available.

If you aren't sure what to do, ask a professional. Mistakes can be deadly.

REMEMBER! The number one concern is the safety of the woman and children in a violent situation. A secondary goal is restoration of the family relationships if possible. If this is not possible, it is crucial to support the woman and children as they mourn the loss of these relationships.

A List of Do's and Don'ts for leaders wanting to help women in domestic violence situations. Print this and keep it on hand as a refresher for when it's needed.

How Do I Start a Christian DV Support Group?

Read here about how to start a group, what to consider beforehand, and the particular difficulties of support groups in rural areas.

How can I help my abused friend?

Educate yourself as much as possible. See the resources page for educational books, DVDs, and web sites to help you.