Feeling unsafe? Find support services   emergency? call 000

SEARCH ANROWS.ORG.AU i

What are you looking for?

Research

Our research

Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

News and events

ANROWS hosts events as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.

ANROWS

About ANROWS

ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Resources

To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS

Building bridges: Domestic violence, religion and the law

Background

Religion is a missing link in domestic violence discourse in Australia as it is widely regarded to be a private matter. Religious victims of domestic violence suffer in silence, fearing ostracism from their faith community for leaving their abusive partners and simultaneously fearing to access secular support services lacking knowledge of victims' religious background, potentially requiring them to compromise their faith. Trapped within this conflicting position, religious victims are falling through the gap in the system while faith-based abuse thrives in the dark.

This research will consider the pivotal role of the law in building bridges through policy discussions and policy changes leading to legislative reform by exploring best practice in meeting the various needs of a domestic violence victim – particularly religious or spiritual care needs – under one roof or service.

It will seek the views of domestic violence survivors, domestic violence service providers and the clergy in consideration of incorporating a specialised social worker with additional accreditations in pastoral care in secular support services, and collaboration between the church and secular services to provide a coordinated, integrated and prompt response to Christian victims of domestic abuse.

Aim

The aim of this project is to explore the potential for policy reform leading to law reform to reflect best practice in meeting the various needs of domestic violence victims, particularly those with religious or spiritual care needs, under one roof.

To achieve this aim the research will consider the option of incorporating a specialised social worker – holding additional accreditations in pastoral care – in secular services through collaboration between the church and secular services towards the provision of a holistic, coordinated community response.

Methods

This is a qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted among three cohorts. The cohorts are domestic violence survivors who are affiliated with the Christian faith, clergy and domestic violence service providers.

Views will be sought on best practice in meeting the various (including religious) needs of a Christian victim of domestic violence under the same roof as the secular services. It will also be considered if incorporating a specialised social worker qualified in pastoral care in a secular domestic violence service would be best practice in meeting all (especially religious) needs of a Christian victim of domestic abuse, thus potentially facilitating a "one-stop shop".

Significance

This project, through data collection, may provide insight into survivors’ perspectives on how their religious beliefs impact the violence in their lives and how clergy and service providers could bridge the gap towards providing an effective service to help them move forward. In line with this, the views of the clergy and domestic violence service providers will also be sought to consider what constitutes best practice and if incorporating a specialised social worker qualified in pastoral care in a secular service might be an option to respond to such victims. Compilation of data will assist in exploring religious perceptions of domestic violence and their impact in shaping policy reforms leading to reviews of legislation in protecting faith-based victims. This research is a pilot project to scope the views of the participants with regard to best practice in addressing, particularly, Christian victims of domestic violence. The outcome may determine the potential for the research to expand and be replicated among other faith-based communities in Australia in the future.

Project start date

June 2020

Expected completion date

June 2024
Back to top