In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that Domestic and Family Violence is one of the most urgent issues Australia is facing today.
This is evident in the heartbreaking media reports of record numbers of women killed this year at the hands of their former or current intimate partners, averaging at more than one per week. The courageous work of Australian of the year Rosie Batty has also raised awareness, allowing the tragic loss of her son Luke to raise her voice on the issue. It seems that everyone is talking about the Domestic and Family Violence crisis that is sweeping our nation.
At Hillsong Church and in my role overseeing Hillsong CityCare, we obviously want to respond to DFV in a way that reflects both the love and freedom of Jesus. The question of course, is how?
How do we respond to our increasing awareness and understanding of Domestic and Family Violence in a meaningful way? How do we put in place policies that allow us to extend love and care for people facing this horror, yet avoid the trap of going beyond what we are equipped and trained to do?
Firstly, let me say that we aren’t experts in this area. Whilst there are many people in our church community who have expertise working in the Domestic and Family Violence space, both working as part of our team and in other organisations, they are all part of much broader network of experts. In my role as Chief Operating Officer, I have discovered these people to be the true heroes of our society. I have met people who have given their lives to advocate for the oppressed, provide services to protect victims, carve out safe pathways forward for survivors, seek justice, and help perpetrators address their problems. Their expertise and experience is invaluable to us as a church as we navigate our response.
Having acknowledged our limits and our need of partnership, I want to be clear that Hillsong Church is totally committed to doing everything that we can to ‘get our own house in order’ when it comes to Domestic and Family Violence. We passionately believe in the value of every individual as a person who is created in the image of God. We believe every person has the right to live free from the fear and the reality of violence in all its forms.
We also recognise that, as a church, we are the first point of call for many people facing domestic and family violence and that we carry a great responsibility as a result. We are therefore committed to ensuring that our team are informed, sensitive and understanding of the severity of Domestic and Family Violence.
As a team, we are currently working hard to ensure our Pastors and staff are trained and resourced to provide a coordinated approach that promotes the safety, protection and wellbeing of individuals and families affected by DFV. It is an ongoing process, but one that we are committed to in the months and years ahead. If you would like to read more regarding this ongoing response, you can do so here.
As a church, let’s join together in prayer, believing that God will move mightily in Australia and that His grace and peace would be present in the lives of all those affected by Domestic and Family Violence.
Chief Operating Officer