2019 Day for Life: Domestic Abuse

Sunday 16th June 2019

One in four women and about one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. Two women are killed every week in England by a partner or ex-partner. These statistics should shock us into action. The issue should be high on the political agenda and we should be calling for action and intervention. This is sadly not the case, we now live in a society where these statistic have been around so long they have become the norm. But it is time for us all to demand action and to put domestic abuse back on the agenda.

Greater awareness of domestic abuse is the first step towards addressing a serious social problem. That is the reason domestic abuse has been chosen as this year’s theme for Day for Life.

Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. This year it is held on Sunday 16th June.

In particular the campaign day wishes to highlight the need for public education and action regarding domestic violence. Only by speaking freely do we raise awareness and help individuals to speak up. Our aim is for anyone experiencing domestic abuse to feel able to have confidence to seek help within the Church setting.

The Church is recognising the hurt done to those who have experienced domestic abuse. Pope Francis sent the following message of support to the campaign organisers:

‘His Holiness Pope Francis sends his cordial best wishes to all those celebrating the 2019 Day for Life being held in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

As they consider the theme of the Scourge of Domestic Abuse, and in particular the shameful ill-treatment to which women are sometimes subjected (cf Amoris Laetitia, 54), His Holiness prays that their efforts to support the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters will bear much fruit and contribute to a growing commitment to fight against all form of exploitation.

The responsibility to share the good news that every human life is beautiful and sacred is a noble calling, and the Holy Father offers his encouragement to all who strive to promote a culture of life, gladly imparting his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.’

Domestic violence includes many forms of non-physical intimidation such as persistent verbal abuse, emotional blackmail and enforced social or financial deprivation. It may occur in any type of close adult relationship.

Violence of this kind should never be tolerated or justified. It is an offence against the dignity of the human person and that is why we as Catholics cannot stand by. The most effective way in which Catholics will be able to help men, women and children who are victims of domestic violence is by giving their support to existing groups and projects and by assisting in the spread of awareness and information. The good work carried out by the National Board of Catholic Women and other groups is of vital importance.

Within our parishes it is very important for all of us, priests and parishioners, to be alert. You can learn more about what to look out for and how to help here. 

Domestic abuse is often a hidden problem. By turning a blind eye we allow the situation to stay the same and for people to continue to suffer. For those who are experiencing domestic abuse, the home is far from being a place of security and self-fulfilment. Too often it is a place of pain, fear, degradation and isolation. Let’s together help to make a change.

National Domestic Violence Helpline
Freephone 24 Hour (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge)
0808 2000 247

Find out more at www.dayforlife.org 

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