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Domestic Violence

The Salvation Army is opposed to any form of domestic violence, which is a serious problem that occurs within the community and in the church.

Definition

The Salvation Army recognises that violence within the family most often involves the abuse of power, the more powerful member abusing the less powerful. Violence may also involve actions aimed at regaining and reasserting power by one who has been oppressed.

Violence within the family may take various forms, such as physical, sexual, verbal, psychological and emotional abuse.  As well, forms of control like economic and social, which at first may appear harmless, fall into the category of domestic violence as they are used to assert the dominance of one partner over another in a relationship.

Victims of domestic violence include children who are not only witnesses but also the objects of violence. Domestic violence occurs in every socio-economic group and while more frequently attributed to men is sometimes committed by women. 

Biblical principles

The Bible teaches that all people are equal in value to God and should be treated with respect and dignity. Every instance of domestic violence and every occasion of misuse of power is contrary to this teaching and is unacceptable (Ephesians 5:21, RSV; Ephesians 4:31,32, GNB).

As part of the Christian Church, we are motivated by the mission of Jesus to lead victims to experiences of healing (Luke 4:18, RSV).

Practical responses

  • Perpetrators of violence within the family should acknowledge their wrongdoing, accepting responsibility and the legal consequences for it.  They should also seek help in dealing with their violent behaviour and work towards a commitment to non-violent, respectful behaviours, equality in relationships with other adults and truly nurturing relationships with children and other dependants.
  • A victim should not be further exposed to abuse through misuse of biblical principles, such as, ‘wives submit to husbands’ or, ‘forgive one another’.
  • The Salvation Army, along with individual Salvationists, should be ready to alert authorities where appropriate, and to help those who are victims, either directly or through support and referral to professional help, regardless of who the perpetrator is. 

Approved by International Headquarters
August 2005