Interim Policy on Domestic and Family Violence

Our Policies

MBM’s vision is to see lives transformed through Jesus Christ to the glory of God. An important outworking of this is MBM’s commitment to the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people, particularly within our own church families. Therefore at MBM, we believe that all forms of domestic and family violence are wrong and must stop.

This interim policy on Domestic and Family Violence is the foundation document that guides how MBM deals with Domestic and Family Violence in our church families.

At MBM our core safe ministry values are based on:

That all people are respected and valued as they are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and the desire to see the flourishing of all people as they journey with God in safe church and ministry environments.

Our commitment to the protection of children and vulnerable people in our community as essential to our living out our Christian faith (Matthew 18:5-10).

The knowledge that concealing the truth is contrary to the character of God, unjust to victims and a disservice to offenders.

NSW State legislation, particularly in the area of child protection. Our policies are developed to help us live out both our Biblical mandate and legal responsibilities.

To ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people in our communities MBM, in conjunction with the Anglican Church of Australia, will

Make the primary focus of this policy the abusive or intimidating behaviour inflicted by an adult against another person who is a current or former spouse; romantic partner or family member

  • This can be between two people, who are married, divorced, dating, with or without children. It can be between teenagers, young people, adults, or the elderly; a man and woman, two women, or two men; two people from any race, culture, nationality, religion, neighbourhood, financial status, or educational level.
  • Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) includes but is not limited to emotional, verbal, financial, psychological, spiritual, physical and sexual violence or abuse. Such behaviour often seeks to control, humiliate, dominate or instil fear in the victim.
  • It is important to note that DFV, if witnessed or overheard by a child, is a form of child abuse by the perpetrator of the abusive behaviour.

Recognises that Domestic and Family Violence requires a serious and realistic response

  • All forms of DFV cause damage to the victim and are wrong.
  • DFV can occur in all communities, including churches.
  • DFV, if witnessed or overheard by a child, is a form of child abuse by the perpetrator of the abusive behaviour.

Commit to being a safe place which:

  • Recognises equality amongst people.
  • Promotes a culture of healthy relationships of mutual responsibility in marriages, exclusive relationships, families and congregations.
  • Ensure that all people feel welcomed, respected and safe from DFV.
  • Strives to follow good practice in protecting those experiencing DFV.
  • Refuses to condone any form of abuse.
  • Enables concerns to be raised and responded to clearly and consistently.

Uphold Faithfulness in Service (FiS) as the Sydney Diocese Code of Conduct for clergy and church workers, specifically as it affirms that:

  • Abuse of power is at the heart of many relationship problems in the Church and in the community. In essence, abuse is one person’s misuse of power over another. Sometimes abuse will be one-off event and at other times it will be a pattern of behaviour (FiS 6.2).
  • It is important for clergy and church workers to be good citizens and to obey the laws of the community, except where those laws conflict with Christian convictions (FiS 6.4).
  • You are not to abuse your spouse, children, or other members of your family or those with who you are in a dating or exclusive relationship (FiS 6.6).

Respect people who come to us for help by:

  • Valuing, listening to and respecting both the victim and the alleged or known perpetrators of DFV, while appreciating the need to ensure appropriate distance is kept between the two and refusing to condone the perpetration or continuation of any form of abuse.

Uphold Scripture and its abhorrence of abuse in our words and public statements by:

  • Clearly teaching that domestic abuse is wrong and that the Bible should never be used to justify or excuse any form of abuse.
  • Clearly teaching that the Bible should not be used to demand a spouse tolerate or submit to DFV.
  • Raising awareness of domestic violence agencies, support services, resources and expertise.

Commit to ensuring safety first by:

  • Ensuring that those who have experienced DFV can find safety and informed help as a first priority.
  • Taking it seriously – ensuring that any disclosures of abuse are taken seriously and not dismissed.
  • Getting help from the outside – working with the appropriate statutory authorities during an investigation into DFV, including when allegations are made against a member of the church community.
  • Keeping it confidential – respecting the need for confidentiality within the bounds of good safe ministry practice.
  • Challenging with care – carefully challenging inappropriate behaviour, but only in a way that does not place any individual, especially a victim at increased risk.

Will offer support to those in our care by

  • Offering informed care – ensuring that informed and appropriate pastoral care is offered to any adult, child or young person who has suffered DFV.
  • Going at the victim’s pace – never pressuring any victim of DFV to forgive, submit to, or restore a relationship with an offender.
  • Understanding that reconciliation comes with conditions – understanding that any reconciliation between victim and offender is dependent principally upon genuine repentance and reformation of the offender, and also upon the willing grace of the victim.
  • Coordinating the care – identifying the appropriate relationships of those with pastoral care responsibilities for both victims and alleged or known perpetrators of abuse.

 

Ray Galea
Senior Pastor