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Vicki Ward, left, and Sr Nicole Rotaru RSM at the launch of the Shining A Light report (CSSV/Fiona Basile)

A new report is “Shining a Light” on ways the Church is responding to domestic and family violence in the Sale Diocese. Source: Catholic Social Services Victoria.

Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Vicki Ward and Sale Bishop Greg Bennet co-launched the report, Shining A Light: A Collaborative project, which aims to build capacity for a whole-of-Church response to domestic and family violence, in Warragul on November 17.

The report outlines the findings and recommendations that came out of a collaborative pilot program between Catholic Social Services Victoria, Sale Diocese and Mercy Sister Nicole Rotaru RSM, a social worker and counsellor who has many years’ experience working with survivors of domestic and family violence, including children.

Sr Nicole facilitated seven workshops across the various regions of the Sale Diocese last year, which saw 127 people participating in the pilot program. The workshops aimed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge to recognise the signs of domestic and family violence and the impacts on women and children; to be more confident in starting a “careful conversation”; and to know some domestic and family violence resources in the local community and beyond. 

The report said the Shining A Light pilot was effective in achieving its goals of increasing awareness of the issues of domestic and family violence, the gravity of the issues and the confidence and capacity of attendees to be involved in response and support within their community context as appropriate.

The report outlines six recommendations that aim to enhance the Catholic community’s role in responding to and preventing domestic and family violence in light of what has been learned from this pilot program. Among these, there is an emphasis on the importance of providing ongoing support for the workshop participants, and a need to secure resources for further work. 


Empowering parish communities to deepen understanding and response to family and domestic violence (Catholic Social Services Victoria)


Catholic diocese finds lived experience rife in examination of domestic and family violence (ABC News)