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Domestic Violence

Woman looking away from husband. "Violence against women,
inside or outside the home,
is never justified.
Violence in any form-physical,
sexual, psychological, or verbal is sinful;
often, it is a crime as well" 

—U.S Catholic Bishops, When I Call for Help, 2002

The Catholic Bishops of the United States affirmed their stance against domestic violence, and their support for victims of domestic violence, in their 2002 statement, When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, an updated version of their 1992 statement. The statement:

  • Addresses abused women, men who abuse, and pastors and pastoral staffs
  • Offers updated statistics, resources and information about domestic violence (updated again in 2016)
  • Includes practical suggestions for dioceses and parishes based on actual experiences


Report on the Catholic Response to Sexual and Domestic Violence and Abuse, 2018

This report was compiled from a survey conducted in summer 2017 of individuals serving in various capacities in Catholic dioceses throughout the country. Its purpose is to better understand the Catholic Church's response to the topic of sexual and domestic violence/abuse which spans all levels of the Church throughout the United States.

The hope is that the results will raise awareness of available resources and strategies in place as well as highlight those in need of further attention. The leaders surveyed represent a range of ministries and areas in the Church, but a different survey and approach would be necessary for a truly comprehensive and scientific account. This limitation should be kept in mind while considering the survey's results.


"When I Call for Help" Resources

Full Text of When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence (order hard copies here)

Full Text in Spanish: Cuando Pido Ayuda: Una Respuesta Pastoral A La Violencia Domestica Contra La Mujer

When I Call for Help Powerpoint (For use in presentations)

When I Call for Help Resource Cards: These cards, available in English and Spanish, list signs of an abusive relationship and include the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Ideal for parish pamphlet racks, for placing in parish restrooms, and as a resource to raise a congregation's awareness about domestic abuse. 


Resources for priests, deacons, and pastoral staffs

Media Toolkit for October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month (from Catholics for Family Peace)

Suggestions for preaching about family violence

Addressing domestic violence in the sacrament of reconciliation

Batterers and the sacrament of reconciliation

What do you say?

Life Matters: Domestic Violence (web page format here)

Resource Flier for use in parish and diocesan facilities (available in English and Spanish)


Additional Resources

"Saying 'No' to Violence in the Home" by Bishop Richard Malone

Catholics for Family Peace: a Catholic group dedicated to preventing domestic violence in Catholic homes and educating Catholics about domestic violence

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

National Domestic Violence Hotline  (1-800-799-SAFE)

Overcoming Obstacles: Domestic Violence on the For Your Marriage website

Survey of Diocesan Responses to domestic violence (July 2008)

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