Preaching Tool Question 2: Are there opportunities to identify, name and call out Domestic & Family Violence and abuse or attitudes that support it?

Understanding the issues

Members of our faith communities should hear clear and emphatic statements from leadership regarding the unacceptability of violence or abuse and our fervent encouragement for victims to get out, get safe and get healthy support. We can develop and use language that plainly names intolerable behaviours and attitudes to leave no ambiguity or doubt in the minds of both perpetrators and victims.

Possibilities to watch out for

For Example:

If I’m talking about …Can I name …
ViolenceDFV and abuse is never okay
SinDFV and abuse is a crime and not merely a matter of private morality
PowerPower used to control others is sinful
FinancesCoercive control of another’s money is abuse
Spiritual leadershipLeadership is not about domination or control
Daily living and communityWe know DFV and abuse happens in our context and it’s not okay
Conflict and relationshipsDFV and abuse requires intervention, it is not merely conflict that can be resolved by couples counselling

Practical suggestions

Demonstrate reality of prevalence of DFV and abuse

– Use community statistics, latest studies and relevant research
– eg. “If 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault, we know that it likely affects women in this room or women that we know.”

Give explanation of language

– When you are using a term related to abuse and violence, give people a definition.
– eg “By domestic abuse, I mean ‘an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour.'”

Emphatically state the unacceptability of behaviours & attitudes

Identify pathways for accessing help for both victims & perpetrators

– eg “We encourage you to get help…these are the people you could talk to.”

– eg “If your behaviour is controlling, threating, degrading and violent, we want to assist you in accessing the help you need.”

Further resources

Trigger warning: Domestic abuse including sexual abuse within marriage


No room for abuse

Victor Owuor, Cross-Cultural and Indigenous Ministries Pastor with Baptist Churches Western Australia


Maria Comino, Child, Family and Youth Project Worker, Community Builders Team, Relationships Australia
Kelly Crawford, Public Engagement Coordinator Baptist Association NSW & ACT


Kelly Crawford, Public Engagement Coordinator Baptist Association NSW & ACT
Carolyn Cousins, Director, Tuned in Consulting and Convenor of the Clinical Division of the Australian College of Social Work, Chair of Baptist Association NSW & ACT Standards Committee
Josh Dowton, Executive Pastor, Northside Baptist Church

Additional Resources: “See what you made me do” by Jess Hill
The Freedom Programme: 

“Responding to domestic abuse from the perspective of a First Nations Woman”

Sharon Malone, Wakka Wakka, kabi kabi woman, from “A Sister’s Strength”
Elissa Macpherson, President of Baptist Women of the Pacific, Vice-President of Baptist World Alliance Women

“Addressing domestic abuse in Chinese and Korean Communities”

Kelly Crawford, Public Engagement Coordinator Baptist Association NSW & ACT
Sunny Kim, Child, Family and Youth Project Worker
Jian Hua, Child, Family and Youth Support Worker Relationships Australia, NSW

“Men's Behavioural Change”

Bruce Chan, Men’s Behaviour Change Practitioner and Trainer
Kelly Crawford, Public Engagement Coordinator Baptist Association NSW & ACT

The Attorney General’s Department accredits men’s behaviour programs. They also provide a list of principles you should look for before recommending any program.  To locate one in your state (Australia)  go to: