Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November is Family Violence Prevention Month

Here in our province, November is Family Violence Prevention Month. Earlier in the month I attended a workshop on family violence and here are a few observations. 
   First of all, I was pleased to see a decent turnout from the clergy members of our Ministerial Association. Faith communities and faith leaders need to be more involved in the prevention of family violence. 
   Second, I realise that I have, over the years, actually been
Image credit: Alberta Human Services
involved with prevention by offering pre-marital counselling sessions that emphasise effective communication and peaceful, respectful conflict resolution.
   Third, there are some excellent resources out there available to victims and their families as well as help for abusers and community organisations, including faith communities. The following bits and pieces of information reveal some insights as well as hard, cold facts about family violence.
  • Close to 100% of prostitutes have been abused as children.
  • 70% of patients in mental hospitals and institutions have suffered some abuse that has changed their brain development.
  • 27% of violence is done in homes. 
  • 16,000 women go to shelters or safe houses here in Alberta every year. 
  • In the U.S.A., family violence is the number one health risk.
  • 25% of abused women turn to drugs and alcohol. 
  • The cost to society and the health care system in relation to family violence is estimated to be in the billions of dollars, since the impact of abuse is profound in terms of mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual illnesses and diseases. 
   Prayer of Commitment: Dear God of Justice and Mercy, we the church, acknowledge today that violence and abuse exists in our midst. We the church acknowledge and embrace our abused and battered people. We, the church, acknowledge our brokenness and we come before you in repentance. We the church, commit to study the Scripture and preach the truth on abuse and injustice. We, the church, invite you to expose and end abuse in all homes, for your glory. We the church, accept your teaching on how to comfort and address both the abused and the abuser. We pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, who knew the pain of violence. Amen. (Prayer from a power-point handout at the workshop lead by a staff member of Riseup).
   Websites that offer valuable information on family violence prevention: Alberta Human Services

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