Because it’s so prevalent among us, abuse needs to be a concern of churches and church leaders. We need to be active in preventing abuse. As well, we need to be ready to respond to those who have been hurt by abuse. If you would like to do your part in preventing and responding to abuse, begin by learning about it. Here are some excellent resources:
Responding to Domestic Violence (Faith Alive, 2002)
This handbook helps pastors and other church leaders respond to and prevent domestic violence. It includes resources for premarital counseling, addressing legal issues, and a variety of other topics. Author Beth Swagman, forner director of Safe Church Ministry for the Christian Reformed Church, carefully and candidly describes the dynamics of domestic violence, characteristics and behaviors of victims and offenders, treatment and spiritual issues, the pastor's and congregation's response, and victims' safety plans.
This Bible study is especially for women who have suffered abuse or who are hurting in other ways. The guidebook is a resource for group members, but it can also be used individually as a workbook. It provides plans for ten biblically based sessions, selected to address a foundational Christian concept that is relevant to the experience of abuse and other forms of emotional pain. Each session includes a creative, experiential learning activity to engage group members at different levels and in different ways.
This valuable resource provides foundational knowledge about emotional abuse, definitions, signs, effects, reporting and what you should do.
Other Resources: Wheels
The "Power and Control Wheel" has been used for many years to describe the central power and control dynamic that operates in many kinds of abusive relationships. Abuse is not always physical or sexual; there are many other ways that power and control can be maintained in a relationship. By contrast, the 'Equality Wheel' shows characteristics of a relationship that is based on equality and respect. The 'Faith Leaders Wheel' shows how churches and faith communities can make a positive difference in preventing and responding to abuse in relationships.