Livin’ on a Prayer: Better Utilizing Places of Worship to Aid Victims of Family Violence

Livin’ on a Prayer: Better Utilizing Places of Worship to Aid Victims of Family Violence
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-12-07
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Livin’ on a Prayer
Unit 2Transcript: Livin’ on a Prayer
Unit 3Workbook: Livin’ on a Prayer
Unit 4Recording: Livin’ on a Prayer

Family violence is a societal issue that requires collaboration between different segments to be fully addressed. As an institution in the community that a sizeable chunk of people refers to as their go-to source, there is so much opportunity in churches and places of worship to help provide community members with the support and resources they need to escape abuse and ensure safety. Andrew Campbell is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to unpack how places of worship can be better utilized in the fight to end family violence.

Andrew is an expert on domestic violence and its associated risks of harm to everyone in the household where violence occurs. He combines cutting-edge data analysis and his personal experience to create a unique perspective on family violence, how it impacts individuals, and how community organizations can combat this.

Specifics of the discussion covered:

  • The great opportunity for places of worship to help in the fight to end the different forms of family violence and the gap in terms of education that poses a barrier to realizing this.
  • Facts and figures that emphasize…
    • The pastors’ intention to participate in actions to reduce cases of domestic violence.
    • The need for training and education for pastors to understand the dynamics and prevalence of domestic violence and better address it.
    • The lack of messaging within places of worship about the issue of domestic violence.
    • The church affiliation of both domestic violence victims and perpetrators.
    • The instances of abuse that occurred before a victim discloses or reports.
    • The proximity of churches’ geographic location to the location of offenders and reports of abuse.
  • The reality of a survivor’s life – a lifetime of struggles and surviving the trauma that comes with the abuse.
  • How churches serve as the only respite from abuse for family members who experience violence at home.
  • Domestic violence victims’ preference to disclose to church leaders about abuse.
  • The significance of places of worship understanding their role to address domestic violence by providing their members with support and a sense of hope.
  • How the church leaders’ response to the disclosure can determine the outcomes of the victims and everyone else who resides in the household where violence occurs.
  • The reasons why both victims and perpetrators are drawn to churches.
  • How offenders may exist amid a church’s congregation and even leadership wearing ‘masks’ and thereby endangering other members of the congregation.
  • Why it is critical to take family violence seriously as it can escalate and pose dangers for the community as a whole.
  • The ways that churches can help address family violence through:
    • Clear messaging and talking about the issue to raise awareness around family violence.
    • Providing support to victims and working closely with family violence resources to connect victims with.
    • Believing victims and creating a safe space for victims, both adults and children, to disclose abuse or neglect experienced.
    • Offering appropriate resources to perpetrators to address their deeply rooted issues.
    • Looking out after pets that provide victims with love and support and are likely to also be targeted by abusers.

Points raised by the audience in the Q&A are about:

  • The importance of pet safety.
  • Training pastors, church leaders, and the congregation.
  • Challenges that pastors have when raising these issues to their hierarchy.


Other Webinars with this Speaker:


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Resources Mentioned During This Webinar:


Audience Comments

  • “All of the information was good, but the graphs and examples provided a greater appreciation for the work.” — Audrey
  • “The research provided and the passion by which the speaker spoke; from personal experience to personal anecdotes. I believe the speaker reinforced his purpose for the presentation and it prompted me to inquire more about this topic with my own church family. Great job!!” — Brenda
  • “The statistics were a huge surprise and an eye-opener.” — Christopher
  • “[I learned the importance of] not to discount what animals mean to victims of abuse and trauma. I have often thought that some people’s use/need of “emotional support service animals” was unnecessary. Shame on me for standing in judgment and not being compassionate of other people’s situations. Thank you to Andrew for sharing his very personal story so that we may have insight and a better understanding of the subject. This mission of reaching out to churches makes complete sense. Thanks again for opening our minds to it!” — Denise
  • “The statistics were by far the most valuable part of this training. I had assumed that many survivors were connected to churches and that pastors either felt ill-equipped or simply denied that the issue existed in their congregations, but seeing the statistics the presenter had gathered floored me. It made this issue much more tangible and also showed the true scale of it.” — Kendall
  • “What will stick in my memory is Perpetrators are excellent mask wearers.” — Raymond
  • “Reminding me that even when organizations try to be helpful at times they can be harmful to victims as well.” — Ryan
  • “Excellent presentation and great presenter/ speaker. From the title, I thought this was going to be more about how churches can be a place of refuge or shelter for people fleeing family violence. The info was very thought-provoking and really makes you think about how the abusers could be right in front of you. I also loved the info presented about pets and specifically Shelby – I think that was the name of Andrew’s dog. I wish more presentations included info about the pets. Excellent. 10+ !!” — Carrie
  • “This was by far my favorite webinar yet. It was very informative. It shocked me that it took 7x for most victims to leave their abuser before they actually follow through. I think that’s huge. I know and wholeheartedly believe that how the church reflects God and loves people, is how people respond in handling their abusive situation. If they see God as angry and wrathful instead of a protector and lover, they will not be able to get help and support they need. We HAVE to get this picture corrected.” — Chyann



NACP and D-SAACP Advocates can earn 1 CEU by attending this webinar through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP). Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing.  To learn more about NOVA, visit






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