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Intimate partner violence focus of clergy survey

Results will help to guide Church policy and practice in these issues.

June 4 2020Anglican clergy and local church leaders local church leaders have been invited to participate in research that explores their responses to intimate partner violence.

This study of clergy and local church leaders is part of a wider research project, titled the National Anglican Family Violence Project, set up by the Anglican Family Violence Working Group established by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia. It is being conducted by NCLS Research, which conducts the five-yearly National Church Life Survey.

“Intimate partner violence is recognised as being a widespread problem in our nation,” said a statement from the Anglican Church of Australia. This included “those who identify as Anglican in broader society and those who attend our churches”.

The Church is “seeking to play its part in preventing and addressing violence and responding with care and compassion towards those affected by it”, said the statement. It was also “developing policies and measures to prevent it and to assist victims and survivors.”

The survey of leaders includes Anglican clergy in active ministry in randomly selected parishes, and lay people in leadership positions within these parishes who have a particular interest in issues concerning family violence.

“For the Church to be part of the broader cultural response to prevent violence and to minister to those who experience it, we need to better understand what happens in our own church communities,” said the Revd Tracy Lauersen, chair of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Family Violence Working Group.

“This includes hearing from our clergy and other leaders about their pastoral experiences and their perceptions around family violence.”

The Director of NCLS Research, Dr Ruth Powell, said the study would randomly select Anglican parishes across the country to complete a confidential and anonymous online survey.

Those with a connection with the Anglican Church who have experienced family violence will be invited to share their experience through the survey, said Dr Powell. The survey will then be followed by in-depth interviews.

Ms Lauersen advised that the results will be reported to the Anglican Church’s meeting of General Synod planned for May 2021 and will help to guide Church policy and practice in these issues.

For more details on the project, visit www.ncls.org.au/research/nafvp