Church statements and advocacy regarding domestic violence
2022: Given that the lack of affordable housing is a critical barrier for those seeking to leave violence at home, the General Assembly encouraged congregations and presbyteries to advocate for: increased priority access to housing for victims of domestic violence; short-term financial assistance for victims of domestic violence so that they can access safe housing; help for municipalities to tackle wait-lists and capacity issues for affordable housing; promotion of services that are trauma-informed, victim-centered, and culturally appropriate for those experiencing domestic violence, including shelters, housing, counselling and legal advice. (A&P 2022, pp. 178-179)
2021: General Assembly adopted a report on Domestic Violence and Vulnerability , drawing attention to groups of people who are particularly vulnerable including: Children, Women, Indigenous people, LGBTQQI2S+ people and Elders. Church communities and leaders can:
- Talk about domestic violence in sermons, small groups and church literature, acknowledging that domestic violence exists in all communities, including churches and letting those experiencing domestic violence know that there is help available.
- Ensure that church leaders and elders know what expectations and responsibilities in the disclosure of different kinds of domestic violence (e.g., children, adult, older people) are, especially in reference to the church’s Leading with Care Policy and responsibilities.
- Provide opportunities for learning about forms of abuse, violence and appropriate ways to respond if someone discloses experiences of domestic violence.
- Know what services are available in your community and be ready to connect those who come forward with those supports, as needed. (A&P 2021, pp. 424-427).
1994: One portion of a report on sexuality, adopted by General Assembly, affirms that marriage does not legitimate forced sexual intercourse. Non-consensual sexual intercourse within marriage is still rape. (A&P 1994, p. 261)
1979: The Church acknowledges that violence exists in the home, including the homes of church people, and that the church has a role in improving family life which can help decrease the incidence of such violence. A study paper called “Violence in the Home” was prepared by the Board of Congregational Life and was encouraged for use as a study document by the 1979 General Assembly. That paper concluded, “Violence needs to be seen by spouses as intolerable.” (, A&P 1979, p. 274)