Domestic abuse affects large numbers of people both inside and outside the church, and children as well as adults.
The Methodist Church holds that domestic abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and incompatible with the Christian faith and a Christian way of living. It is committed to being a safer space for all. This means ensuring that members of the Methodist Church have an awareness and understanding of domestic abuse, and know how to respond appropriately and effectively. When victims disclose abuse, they can expect to be listened to, taken seriously, supported and referred to local professional services, as appropriate. Local churches should receive advice and support from their Church/Circuit Safeguarding Officer and the District Safeguarding Officer.
- Where can I find information on Domestic Abuse?
Read the Domestic Abuse Policy and Procedures 2021 for further information including a policy statement, guidance on what domestic abuse is, theological resources, what to do when someone discloses, and useful links to support agencies.
Take a look at the Domestic Abuse page of this website, where you will find links to support services and resources, including posters, stickers and webinar recordings..
- How do we know that Domestic abuse is happening within our own church?
We don't know, or sometimes if we do we pretend that it isn't happening. The Way Forward report showed that as many women were abused in the Methodist church as in society. Abuse of any kind is very difficult to deal with. When victims disclose abuse, they can expect to be listened to, taken seriously, supported and referred to local professional services, as appropriate. Local churches should receive advice and support from their Church/Circuit Safeguarding Officer and the District Safeguarding Officer.
- What can I do?
Take a look at the Domestic Abuse page of this website, where you will find a wealth of information such as links to support services and resources, including posters, stickers and webinar recordings.
Make sure that there are lists of suitable agencies with their telephone numbers prominently displayed in your church. (Lists of agencies can be found in the policy and on the Domestic Abuse webpage.) Encourage local preachers, deacons and ministers to mention it in their preaching and teaching. Use the Theological Resources section of the policy as study material. Be a good listener! Tell a responsible person what you have heard especially if there are children involved.
But above all…
Pray that those who are suffering will be believed and helped, those who are perpetrators will be supported in their journey back to wholeness. Pray also that we will all be forgiven for remaining silent when we should have spoken out and that those who are involved will be able one day, to move to a place where they can forgive and be forgiven. Also pray for those who assist in the running of the church that they will work towards making it a place of sanctuary and hope in which truths will be honoured and falsehood will be revealed and shown for what it is.
- What is the history behind the policy?
Women's Network and Family and Personal Relationships commissioned research into Domestic Violence and the Methodist church in 1999. Work was done by Dr. Loraine Radford and Cecilia Cappell of University of Surrey, Roehampton, Southlands College and funded by Southlands College Methodist Centre. Their findings were published in the report, Domestic Violence and the Methodist Church, The Way Forward? which was taken to the Methodist Conference in 2002.
The resolutions from that report ensured that further work would be done, based on these findings, which would look at theology, training, monitoring and good practice.
This was followed, in 2005, by the Domestic Abuse report, which was received and commended by the Conference to all members and parts of the Church for study, prayer and action.
In 2010, the Church produced guidelines for good practice when working within the issue of domestic violence.
In 2021. the Domestic Abuse policy and procedures 2021 were produced.
- Why has the title changed?
As more was learnt about the nature of Domestic violence so it became apparent that the word 'violence' did not include all the aspects of victimisation that were being reported. By using the word abuse it was felt a more accurate picture was given of just what the issue is about.
Domestic Abuse Policy and Procedures 20212021 Edition
Guidelines for Good Practice when working within the issue of Domestic Abusefrom 2010
The Methodist Church Equality, Diversity and Inclusion ToolkitInformation, case studies and materials for further study and personal reflection