Families and Culture
Promoting violence free families in the church and community
3rd National Gathering on Domestic Violence and the Church
Date: Sydney 29-30 May 2023
Venue: St Andrew’s House, 464-480 Kent Street, Sydney and St Andrews Cathedral
The two-day gathering was held on 29-30 May2023 at St Andrew’s House in Sydney. The program included a service of worship at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Monday at 5pm. A copy of the Program can be viewed here.
There were a mixture of speakers, panels and workshops, all designed to deepen our understanding of why domestic violence occurs and what role the church can play in response and prevention.
An update on the Families and Culture Commission
Since the last gathering in 2021 addressing family violence in the Anglican Church there have been some significant developments in the sector and in our own church.
In 2022 a second National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children was launched by the federal Government, along with further funding for response and prevention services.
Within our church, the General Synod endorsed the establishment of a new General Synod Commission, the Families and Culture Commission, building upon the work of the Family Violence Working Group.
Four members of the working group remain on the Commission along with four new members. Bishop Genieve Blackwell from Melbourne has taken on the task of Chairing the Commission with other members drawn from five dioceses including a number of regional dioceses (the full list of members appears below).
The General Synod established a new position to support the work of the Commission and we are delighted to announce that the Rev’d Tracy Lauersen has been engaged as the National Program Manager, Families and Culture Commission.
National Anglican Family Violence Project
The Anglican Church of Australia has conducted Australia’s first known national research into family violence within faith communities.
The National Anglican Family Violence Project (NAFVP) investigated the prevalence, experience, and impact of family violence for those who identify as Anglicans in Australia. An announcement launching the project in June 2019 is available here.
In August 2021 the detailed research reports were released following presentation at the National Anglican Family Violence Project Working Conference. The objective of the conference was to share the research findings with diocesan representatives and to develop local and national initiatives in response.
Ten Commitments for Prevention and Response
Ten Commitments for Prevention and Response to Domestic and Family Violence in the Anglican Church of Australia were endorsed by General Synod Standing Committee and circulated to dioceses for adoption and action.
Families and Culture Commission
At the Eighteenth Session of General Synod a new reference Commission was ratified to continue the work of the Family Violence working Group.
The functions of the Families and Culture Commission are:
(a) to examine questions that relate to family violence affecting members of the Church, the drivers of violence and the well-being of families and women referred to it by the Primate, the Standing Committee or the General Synod, and to report thereon to the referring party and to the Standing Committee, and
(b) to make recommendations to the Standing Committee on matters relating to family violence affecting members of the Church, violence prevention and the well-being of families and women.
The members of the Families and Culture Commission are:
- The Right Reverend Genieve Blackwell – Chair
- The Very Reverend Richard Humphrey
- The Reverend Scott Holmes
- The Reverend Mark Tough
- The Venerable Kara Hartley
- Ms Ruth Holt
- Ms Naomi Johnson
National Program Manager – The Reverend Tracy Lauersen
Contact details are:
Phone: 0433 179 220
Family Violence Working Group
The Family Violence Working Group was established by the Standing Committee of General Synod at its meeting in December 2017 in response to Resolutions 20/17, 23/17, 49/17 and 50/17 passed at the Seventeenth Session of the General Synod:
The role of the Family Violence Working Group is to:
a) investigate a professionally designed, independent research study into the nature and prevalence of family violence within the Australian Anglican Church population
b) establish the nature and extent of current Family Violence policies, pastoral care frameworks and training modules across Dioceses.
c) develop a “best practice” model policy and pastoral care framework for responding well to situations involving family violence within our parishes and organisations
d) recommend curriculum content and/or guidelines to address unhealthy views about power or the marginalisation of women and other survivors of family violence.
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