If violence has its source in the human heart, then it is fundamental that nonviolence be practised before all else within families… From within families, the joy of love spills out into the world and radiates to the whole of society  An ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence between individuals and among peoples cannot be based on the logic of fear, violence and closed-mindedness, but on responsibility, respect and sincere dialogue. …I plead with equal urgency for an end to domestic violence and to the abuse of women and children.Pope Francis, Message for World Day of Peace 2017 #5
Working to address and prevent the devastating impact of violence against women and families is an area of priority for Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) — and as many of you know is a core area of work for a number of CSSV member organisations. A letter was sent late last year from Felicity Rorke, Chair of CSSV’s Domestic Violence Working Group, to parishes across Victoria. In the letter she notes that during the pandemic there has been a significant increase in reporting of instances of domestic and family violence and abuse – to both police and help lines.
Each month, Pope Francis asks for our prayers for a specific intention. Throughout February, he has drawn our attention and calling on our prayers “for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded”.
We are all a core part of society. CSSV encourages all to be informed and to work to be part of a community that recognises, responds with care and works to prevent domestic violence. CSSV has developed a poster with some key telephone numbers, that can be placed in your parish or school office should someone seek help — on a noticeboard to catch someone’s eye, or sent around electronically to increase awareness of options and what services are available to assist someone if they are facing issues of domestic violence. This poster is the beginning of our efforts to update the 2016 Responding to Domestic Violence Parish Resource Kit.
If you would like some ideas as to how your organisation could be a part of broader change in this area, CSSV can be of assistance. If your parish or community group feels moved to better understand and to act on domestic violence, Sr Nicole Rotaru rsm has developed a workshop for parishes/groups who are looking to engage and learn more. Please be in touch with the CSSV office to arrange.
By working together, Catholic social services, parishes and others within the Catholic community can be a part of a whole-of-Church approach to recognise, prevent and respond to domestic violence in our communities.
Catholic Social Services Victoria
383 Albert St, East Melbourne, 3000
Ph: 0402 932 281 E: firstname.lastname@example.org