A Domestic Violence Handbook for clergy and pastoral workers

The heads of churches in South Australia have produced a guide – a ‘field manual’ of basic information – to assist clergy and pastoral workers to respond to domestic violence. It is available here.

One hopes that the heads of churches here in Aotearoa New Zealand may be inspired to produce an equivalent for our context.


  1. This guide may well have been have had good intentions, but it is highly misleading and may well cause more harm than good, as it follows the outdated “men are violent / women are victims” stereotype, which has long been discredited.

    I have spent over 20 years providing pastoral care to male survivors of family violence, and my experience (as well as statistics from independent research) has shown beyond all doubt that men are just as likely as women to suffer domestic violence, yet their plight is swept under the carpet, and it is disturbing that the Church is unwittingly upholding this gross social injustice.

    Until we stop denying that domestic violence is a two way street, this blight on society will never be erased.


  2. I am concerned about the line the church in general is taking. Independent studies by Canterbury and Otago Universities show that family violence is caused more or less equally by both genders. The often touted “One woman in 3 is a victim” was debunked by the Advertising standards authority. refer: 10/424 – Womens Refuge Newspaper Advertisement

    Decision: Complaint Upheld

    10/433 – Womens Refuge Television Advertisement

    Decision: Complaint Upheld

    Both adds claimed that one in three women live in fear and need help.

    I suggest the church needs to become much more conciliatory in its approach, before it becomes an agent into helping to destroy an institution it helped found. I refer of course Marriage!

    Lest I be poo pooed, I am a victim of family violence by a woman!


  3. There is no doubt that domestic violence is experienced by men, however of course we all know that the number of women who experience domestic violence is far far greater than men and they are also much more likely to sustain serious injury and be murdered by domestic violence. It is very dangerous to downplay this fact by implying domestic violence is a ‘two way street’.
    Similarly women usually experience domestic violence in different ways to men, e.g. studies show that men are usually not fearful for their lives when experiencing violence from their female partner, this is quite different to women’s experience.
    It is important to acknowledge men’s experience and I hope that perhaps some of the previous bloggers could work with their communities e.g. domestic violence shelters and policy workers to develop a specific book for men’s experiences.


  4. With the greatest of respect Tina, that is not the case.

    You say “of course we all know that the number of women who experience domestic violence is far greater than men….”

    So exactly how do we know all know this?

    Is it because this is what the abuse industry keeps saying?

    Or is it because this is the only way domestic violence tends to be portrayed by the media?

    By making statements like “of course we all know….” you are helping perpetuate a discredited ideological orthodoxy and are helping to suppress any dissenting opinion.

    It is very dangerous and dishonest to shut down debate in this manner, and it is very dangerous and dishonest to deny the fact that domestic violence is a two way street.

    I have spent over 20 years providing pastoral care to survivors of family violence. I can confirm that men suffer just as much as women and I can also confirm that most domestic violence is mutual, i.e. it is not men bashing women, and it is not women bashing men. It is men and women bashing each other. However, many still believe the myth that man is almost usually the perpetrator and the woman is usually the victim.

    Statistics from reputable and independent organisations (such as the highly acclaimed studies by the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago) confirm this, unlike the dubious and discredited figures trotted out by the abuse industry.

    Most men who suffer domestic violence suffer in silence. Very rarely will they call the authorities. If they are lucky they will be laughed at. If they are unluckily they will be arrested, even though they are the victims, because of their sex. One man I know of had a knife sticking out of him, having just been stabbed by his wife, and he was the one arrested. This fact alone means figures from law enforcement authorities have close to zero credibility.

    May I ask what YOUR experience in this area is?

    Do YOU have over 20 years experience of working with survivors of domestic violence like I do?

    Until we stop denying that domestic violence is a two way street, this blight on society will never be erased.


Comments welcome here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.