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Domestic Violence continues to be an issue that affects our communities, our families and our congregations, yet oftentimes goes unnoticed or ignored. Some victims and survivors are left with the shame and embarrassment that comes from being victimized, and many do not always find the support they need to move forward in their lives. Faith Leaders have the opportunity to speak to their followers, to encourage them, and to offer messages of healing and restoration. Victims of domestic violence often seek those messages from their faith leaders as they attempt to reignite the inner light that has been dimmed.
Communities of faith have an opportunity to respond to the epidemic of intimate partner violence in ways that are empowering, compassionate, and filled with the hope of a better tomorrow. The first step is that as a Faith Leader you can educate yourself about the impact of domestic violence. Another step is to make your church, temple, mosque or synagogue a “safe place” where victims of domestic violence can come for help, free from judgment or ridicule. Displaying Safe Nest brochures and posters in your restrooms allows individuals to access information discreetly.
Other ways you can respond include;
Educating your congregation. Provide ways for members of your congregation to learn as much as they can about domestic violence. Request a Domestic Violence speaker from Safe Nest and attend or sponsor related trainings and workshops. www.faithtrustinstitute.org
Speaking out. Speak out against domestic violence from the pulpit. As a Faith Leader, you have a powerful impact on people’s attitudes, beliefs and actions. Believe the survivor when they come to you and disclose that their partner is uses violence in their relationship.
Referring to appropriate community resources. Refer survivors to Safe Nest for help and support. Safe Nest is the only program in the Las Vegas valley devoted solely to family and partner violence, staffed by professionals whose only concern is domestic violence and the complex safety needs surrounding it. Suggest perpetrators contact the Safe Nest counseling office for opportunities to learn new ways to be in their relationship. Give victims the Safe Nest 24 hour hotline: 702-646-4981. As the only confidential shelter location with empowerment based advocacy services, survivors are paired with advocates, licensed therapists and other professional staff to create their own plan for a future free of violence.
Leading by example. Take advantage of opportunities to volunteer with Safe Nest. Hold clothing drives or other events to create awareness. Do the theological and scriptural homework necessary to better understand and respond to domestic violence.
Praying. Prayer is the hallmark of all Faith traditions. Participate in annual prayer days, locally and nationally, which recognize domestic violence. Lead your congregation in those prayers and declare your commitment to the healing and restoration of your community.
With your faith-informed Support and Leadership, we will create a community where domestic violence is not tolerated.