Shining a light on the Domestic Violence crisis

On Wednesday 26 July the Justice and Peace Office hosted the annual tri-diocesan social justice evening in conjunction with the Dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay. The event was a discussion of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2022-23 Social Justice Statement, Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse.

We were privileged to have theologian Leonie Westenberg (second from left) as our main speaker. The social justice statement draws on her research, particularly her published article ‘When She Calls for Help’ – Domestic Violence in Christian Families (available Open Access here).

Leonie spoke about how language used in religious settings, particularly language of willing victimhood, can influence women of faith to believe they must continue to endure their situation rather than seeking help.

Leonie was joined on stage by survivor and advocate Kristy, by photographer and advocate Victoria, and by Munther and Anne from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. Munther and Anne spoke about the benefits seen when communities name and tackle the problem together.

Related media:

Julie Macken from the Justice and Peace Office spoke about this issue in an episode of our podcast, Speaking of Social Justice. You can listen below or, better yet, subscribe and get all our future episodes.

Dr Michael Walker from the Justice and Peace Office has also written an article on the topic for The Catholic Weekly, titled Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Domestic Violence, which can be accessed online here.