Multifaith leaders report to Royal Commission

At the conclusion of Wednesdays (3 Sept) consultation with muti-faith leaders, Royal Commissioner into Family Violence, Justice Marcia Neave AO, summarised the following key themes that had emerged from the discussion:

  • Recognition that religious communities are microcosms of our community as a whole, and just as family violence occurs in the community at large, it also occurs within faith communities;
  • Recognition of the breadth of violence experienced in faith communities – not just intimate partner violence and physical violence, but also other forms of abuse such as elder abuse, child abuse and financial abuse;
  • The importance of theological work around contemporary interpretation of religious texts that might otherwise be seen to condone violent and controlling behaviour;
  • The importance of promoting gender equality, and avoiding language which may reinforce ideas about gender inequality;
  • The role of religious organisations in pre-marriage and post-marriage education;
  • The value of supporting people to intervene at the grassroots level – through active bystander training;
  • The role that religious organisations can play in educating communities about family violence, and in prevention work;
  • The role that young people could play in this area, in particular in combating the impacts of pornography and representations of violence on the internet and in the media;
  • The need for faiths to train religious leaders about recognising and responding to family violence, particularly those trained a long time ago who may not understand the dimensions of family violence;
  • The assistance that might be provided to people in religious organisations about where to refer people experiencing family violence, for example legal assistance and housing services;
  • The importance of working with mainstream agencies to increase their cultural competency so that they are better able to respond to family violence within particular communities;
  • The opportunity to draw on teachings about compassion, dignity and respect which are common to all faith traditions.