Australian Bishops highlight commitment to confronting abuse, domestic violence

The Australian Catholic Bishops publish their annual social justice statement which addresses the scourge of domestic and family violence in society. The bishops also release a new draft code which puts safety at the heart of mission.

Aug 05, 2022

Australian Bishops highlight commitment to confronting abuse, domestic violence (©doidam10 -

CANBERRA: Australia’s bishops are shining the spotlight on the scourge of domestic violence and abuse.

In their annual social justice statement, they say relationships must be “marked by respect and freedom rather than coercion and control.”

Entitled Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse, the document looks at data around family and domestic violence.

The statement, citing the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, highlights that family and domestic violence “affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds”, but notes it “predominantly affects women and children”.

It also says that younger women, women with disabilities, people in regional areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and members of the LGBTQI+ community were particularly vulnerable to violence.

Speaking about the findings, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said in a forward to the statement: “The teaching of Christ urges us to promote relationships marked by respect and freedom rather than coercion and control.”

 “The message of the Gospel is not a message of domination of one person over another but a message of mutual esteem and kindness.”

Another area covered in the document is the reality of family and domestic violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The statement also drives home the importance of listening to women and children, supporting respectful relationships and the importance of respect, dignity and justice, as well as transformation and hope.

The document acknowledges that in some contexts, Scripture has been used to explain or even justify instances of violence against women or children.

These distortions are to be rejected, it says, adding that “the respect due to each member of a family, household or community should reflect the respect and care shown for others by Christ.”

The statement draws attention to programmes and agencies that support those who suffer various forms of violence, but also highlights the importance of support for those who perpetrate such violence.

The Catholic Church in Australia celebrates Social Justice Sunday on the last Sunday of August.--Vatican News

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