31 May 2023

Leaders enrol to understand family violence in a Christian context 

Ridley College’s Responding to Domestic Violence course is teaching how to help those in need. Picture: iStock

By Andy Judd 

26 August 2022

Hundreds of Christian leaders have taken a first step towards being better equipped to respond to Domestic and Family Violence in Christian communities.  

Since its launch a year ago, Ridley College’s Responding to Domestic Violence online course has seen over 500 students enrol. What was produced specifically to serve the Melbourne Anglican context has met a need with students from a wide variety of denominational and parachurch groups, throughout Australia and as far away as India.  

Read more: We can learn from others’ ‘roaring lions’ as we share Christ together

The course was launched virtually in August 2021 during a webinar including Bishop Genieve Blackwell and former Anglican diocese Prevention of Violence Against Women program manager Robyn Boosey. During the launch webinar, Bishop Genieve encouraged church leaders to take seriously the research into prevalence of DV in our churches, and get better equipped to respond. 

The online video lectures are presented by Erica Hamence, an Anglican minister, domestic violence specialist and former Ridley student. Her warm and compelling approach has been well received by participants, who report far greater confidence responding pastorally to disclosures of abuse by the end of the course. 

Read more: Seven in 10 Australian clergy have supported people through family violence 

The unit uniquely addresses domestic violence in a Christian community context, helping Christian leaders think about not only their response to disclosures, but also how their Bible teaching and ministry practices can help, and not hurt.  

The course was fully funded by donations and so is available free to anyone: certificate.ridley.edu.au 

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