Victorian Bishops have issued a statement condemning domestic and family violence in the strongest possible terms, calling it "a crisis in Australia."
The statement, issued yesterday, echoes the words of Pope Francis that “we must always say ‘no’ to violence in the home.”
"Figures show that a woman dies at the hands of her partner or ex-partner every week and that one in four children experiences the distress of witnessing their mother being abused," the statement says.
"The Bishops say that it is women and children who most suffer as victims of domestic violence. They urge for a society where all people are safe in their homes and families and where violence and abuse are simply not acceptable. They have asked that the whole Church community including priests, parishioners, teachers, and the victims themselves work to prevent violence.
The Bishops call for responses to domestic violence which “provide victims with protection and help in rebuilding their lives, which make offenders accountable and assist their rehabilitation, and importantly change those community attitudes from which violence emerges.”
The statement also opens the door to joining with other Churches and faith communities to support the necessary change and congratulates the Royal Commission into Family Violence for its outstanding work and vital recommendations which have been promptly and positively responded to by the Victorian government.
It builds on the work of Catholic social service agencies in prevention and assistance to victims. These include CatholicCare, McAuley Community Services for Women, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, The Good Samaritan Inn, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, MacKillop Family Services, Jesuit Social Services, VincentCare, and others.
CatholicCare Sandhurst and CentaCare Ballarat are points of contact for the Sandhurst and Ballarat dioceses.
The statement will be distributed in Catholic parishes across Victoria this weekend.