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Parish Resource Kit to support our response to domestic violence

2016 Statement by Victorian Bishops

Parish Brochure - Responding to domestic and family violence
Statement by Bishop Vincent Long, February 2016 
A prayer to end domestic and family violence 

Victorian Government 10 year strategy Transforming our approach, November 2016  

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Domestic Violence

Throughout February, Pope Francis is drawing 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”. 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.  

Chair of Catholic Social Services Victoria's Domestic Violence Working Group, Felicity Rorke has penned a letter to each parish priest in Victoria, urging them to "play a part" in a whole of Church approach to community awareness and prevention, and a just and compassionate response to violence in the home. The letter was sent to each parish priest along with a new poster that can be displayed in school or parish offices, or on community noticeboards. 

Good Samaritan Inn Director, Felicity Rorke, attended the Fourth World Conference of Women's Shelters (4WCWS) in Taiwan along with 1400 delegates from across the globe. Co-organized by The Garden of Hope Foundation and the Global Network of Women's Shelters, the conference is the world's largest international meeting on the protection of women's rights and the prevention of violence against women. This is the first time that the conference has ever been held in Asia.
For the past 12 months, Catholic parishes and organisations in Melbourne and surrounding areas have benefited from participating in workshops that deepen their understanding of domestic violence and its prevention. More parishes are invited to put their hand up to offer these workshops to their local communities.

Holding the Light is an ecumenical service to remember and honour the Australian women and children who have been killed during 2019 by domestic/relationship violence. The service will be held on Sunday 1 December 2019, from 3.00 – 4.00 pm, at St Francis’ Church, corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne.

The Archbishop's Office for Evangelisation is hosting a professional learning session for Lay Ecclesial Ministers to explore the topic of domestic violence and to focus on how this particular environment/ context can influence attitudes of gender inequality. Through the use of case studies, artworks and stories, facilitator Sr Nicole Rotaru rsm will offer insights to help enhance empathy and deepen awareness of the subtleties of the violence experienced. Wednesday 27 March 2019, 9am - 2.45pm, at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre, 362 Albert Street, East Melbourne.
If you are someone within your church who works at developing resources, implementing training or drafting policy on domestic and family violence, the National Council of Churches in Australia invites you to attend its domestic and family violence roundtable on Thursday 2 May. It aims to bring together people who work in the domestic and family violence area of their church and to provide a space where people can share, learn and build networks with others working within the domestic and family violence space within churches. 

A number of parishes and deaneries within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne have taken up the opportunity to host a workshop in 2019 addressing domestic and family violence: what is it? What supports are available? This follows a similar workshop that was held in the Sunbury parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel last November, which was led by Sr Nicole Rotaru rsm. Please contact Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria if you'd like to host a similar forum in your local parish or deanery.
On 4 March, The Age reported that the Morrison Government will commit $328 million to a fourth wave of programs to curb violence against women after calls for more guaranteed funding and a sharper focus on prevention. The funding is the biggest commitment so far under a federal and state plan to reduce violence against women, which has been underway since 2010 and is due to be renewed in the middle of this year.
Catholic Social Services Victoria's Advent/ Christmas edition of Catholic Parishes Supporting the Community is out now. As we reflect on the meaning of Christmas, we encourage parishioners and parish communities to look at the ways they can support some of the most vulnerable members of our community - refugees and asylum seekers. There are also news items related to events that have assisted parishioners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of family and domestic violence. From all of the team at Catholic Social Services Victoria, we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season.
It’s not too late to get involved with the international community’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. Commencing on 25 November and finishing on 10 December ( Human Rights Day), the campaign looks at the different forms of violence that women and girls face. The theme this year is, ‘From peace in the home to peace in the world: make education safe for all!’ Member organisation, ACRATH, has an array of resources to assist.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Sunbury recently hosted a workshop entitled, Domestic and Family Violence: What is it? What supports are available? led by Nicole Rotaru rsm. On the evening of 28 November, parish priest, Fr Kevin McIntosh, welcomed 24 participants who attended from the parish community, surrounding townships and local organisations.
The bell tolled 63 times at St Peter’s Eastern Hill on Sunday afternoon of 2 December. Each toll marked the death of a woman by someone she knew. The count was 54 in 2017. Each year in December, an ecumenical service, Holding the Light, is held in remembrance of the women and children killed due to family violence. It is hosted by St Peter’s Eastern Hill, East Melbourne, in partnership with Think Prevent: A Bystander Intervention Program.
Save the date! On Sunday 2 December 2018, an ecumenical service to remember the victims and survivors of domestic and relationship violence, Holding the Light, will be held at St Peter's Anglican Church, 315 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, from 2.30pm - 3.30pm. Find out more, here
In response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, many organisations have redoubled their efforts to ensure they respond properly to known or suspected incidents of abuse. To facilitate learning, the Australian Safeguarding Network held an online webcast in October, Abuse in Organisations: Prevention is Better for Everyone, delivered by Professor Stephen Smallbone. It provided information about preventing child sexual abuse by assessing and mitigating the situational risks in community services organisations and activities.
Many women coming to court to get intervention orders against a violent partner have no alternative but to bring their children along, according to a new report released by Ms Felicity Broughton, Deputy Chief Magistrate on behalf of RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) and McAuley Community Services for Women.
The leaders of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s national apology on 22 October to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and recommitted to working with the community to eliminate the scourge of child sexual abuse.
‘Chaos’, ‘War zone’, ‘domestic terrorism’, ‘lost childhood’, ‘uncertainty’, ‘tangle’, ‘why me?’, ‘is there a way out?’ These were just some of the words used to describe family and domestic violence by participants in an interactive workshop hosted by Catholic Social Services Victoria last week with Sr Nicole Rotaru rsm. Twenty participants from Melbourne parishes attended the workshop in order to increase their understanding of domestic and family violence and its impact, particularly from the perspective of women and children.
Our July edition of Catholic Parishes Serving the Community newsletter aims to highlight news and events of interest to Catholic parishes and social services agencies. It highlights the ways in which our parishes are assisting, or can further assist the pressing needs of refugees and people seeking asylum, and the ways in which parishes can assist people impacted by domestic and family violence. View the full newsletter, here.
Jesuit Social Services’ Men’s Project has been established to provide leadership on the reduction of violence and other harmful behaviours prevalent among boys and men, and to build new approaches to improve their wellbeing and keep families and communities safe.

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