Parishes tackle domestic abuse

Parishes tackle domestic abuse

First published on: 8th January 2020

Throughout November and December, parishes across the Diocese raised awareness of the issue of domestic abuse, with the support of the Community Engagement Social Action Team for the Diocese of Rochester.

The activity focused around marking White Ribbon Day on 25 November - a global day of action to end male violence against women - and the United Nation's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, which ran from 25 November to 10 December.

  •  The Anglican Communion Office also took part in the UN's 16 days of activism and collated and produced a series of excellent films and resources on the Christian response to gender-based violence. Find it here 

Speaking about the Diocese's support of the White Ribbon Campaign and its commitment to raising awareness of the issue of domestic abuse generally, Bishop Simon Burton-Jones, said:

“In the UK, two women a week are murdered by their current or ex-partner. One in five women have experienced sexual assault.
“Behind these figures lie a whole growing body of threatened violence in online communication towards women, some of which is extremely dark and hostile.
“This is totally unacceptable.” 

Through a series of local awareness raising events, parishes were able to highlight some of the local organisations and agencies available to support victims, perpetrators and their families, such as:

  • Support & Action To End Domestic Abuse (SATEDA),
  • DAVSS - a West Kent charity supporting men and women experiencing domestic abuse, and
  • Kent Community Domestic Abuse Programme (CDAP) - which works with perpetrators of domestic abuse.

It was also an opportunity to highlight the many forms that domestic abuse can take, from physical and mental, to financial and coercive control.

At an event in St John Church, Hildenborough, guest speaker Ryan Hart spoke about the coercive and controlling behaviour that his father had inflicted on the family, which culminated in the murder of his mum and sister on 19 July 2016 in broad daylight, using a sawn-off shotgun. The father then committed suicide.

He spoke passionately about the key part day-to-day services and business can play in providing sufferers of domestic abuse with the opportunity to perhaps find the help they need.

From estate agents and hairdressers, to doctors and churches - these are the places where someone affected by domestic abuse might see information about a helpline, or have the 'space to talk',  which might set them on the road to getting the help they need.

It was also why raising awareness of the signs of domestic abuse within these sectors was so important. 

Eleven organisations, working with all genders of victims as well as perpetrators of domestic abuse, also attended the event giving out information and advice, including the Dog’s Trust who care for the family pet in a crisis. 

On Chatham High Street, information was given out to members of the public by victim support agencies and White Ribbon card, providing the national helpline numbers for the Rape Crisis Centre, Mens Advice Line, Galop LGBTQ+ and Women’s Refuge, were also offered.

Caroline Clarke, Community Engagement Officer for the Diocese of Rochester, said

"While women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than men, the White Ribbon UK campaign does recognise that violence can be perpetrated by women against men, in same-sex couples and in other settings too.  

"That's why at all these events we have been signposting people to the campaigns and charities that focus on these issues and victims, with cards that include the numbers for national helplines including: Rape Crisis, Galop (the LGBTQ+ anti-violence group), Men’s Advice Line, and Women’s Aid."

Other events took place at St Edmunds Living Well Dartford, Rochester Cathedral, St George’s School Gravesend and St. Augustine's, Gillingham.

  • If you would like to find out more out the work taking place across the Diocese on this issue, please visit a dedicated webpage here  or contact Caroline Clarke, Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Advisor on: / or on Twitter @communitycaro
  • For emergency support contact: Rape Crisis: 0808 802 9999 / Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 / Galop – LGBT+: 0800 999 5428 / Women’s Aid: 0808 2000 247

    For Safeguarding support visit our Safeguarding pages.