“Love means seeking the best for others and is the mark of a Christian… love speaks the truth tempered with kindness… it is the way of seeing others as God sees them” (Living Faith 8.3.2, 8.2.3).

Families and intimate relationships should be places of love and care. Yet, this is not always the case. There is no room for abuse or violence in love. No one is called to live with violence.

One-quarter of violence reported to police involves a family member as perpetrator. This is a fraction of the number of people who experience domestic violence, a crime that is frequently underreported. Domestic violence is a reality for many people in congregations, but it is rarely spoken about in our prayers, sermons and studies.

If you have experienced abuse, know that it is not your fault. Nothing excuses violence or abuse. Help and support are available.

If you need support, or you are worried about someone you know and do not feel comfortable reaching out to someone at church, here are some other resources:

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Hope for Wellness, for Indigenous people in crisis: 1-855-242-3310
  • Trans Lifeline provides peer support for trans people: 1-877-330-6366
  • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566
  • Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse provides regional helplines: cnpea.ca/en/what-is-elder-abuse/get-help

You can help support those facing domestic violence by:

  • Learning more about domestic violence and its signs—see the church’s Social Action Hub for more information at presbyterian.ca/justice/social-action.
  • Learning what supports exist locally, so appropriate referrals can be made.
  • Ensuring you are familiar with the church’s Leading with Care policy.
  • Supporting local shelters and agencies assisting those who face domestic violence.

Abuse is never okay.