The religious community provides
a safe haven for women and families in need. In addition, it exhorts society to share compassion and comfort with those afflicted
by the tragedy of domestic violence. Leaders of the religious community have identified actions to share with the nation to
create a unified response to violence against women.
- Become a safe place. Make your church, temple, mosque, or synagogue a safe place where victims of domestic violence
can come for help. Display brochures and posters which include the telephone number of the domestic violence and sexual assault
programs in your area. Publicize the National Domestic Violence Hotline number, 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TDD).
- Educate the congregation. Provide ways for members of the congregation to learn as much as they can about domestic
and sexual violence. Routinely include information in monthly newsletters, on bulletin boards, and in marriage preparation
classes. Sponsor educational seminars on violence against women in your congregation.
Speak out. Speak out
about domestic violence and sexual assault from the pulpit. As a faith leader, you can have a powerful impact on peoples'
attitudes and beliefs.
- Lead by example. Volunteer to serve on the board of directors at the local domestic violence/sexual assault program
or attend a training to become a crisis volunteer.
- Offer space. Offer meeting space for educational seminars or weekly support groups or serve as a supervised visitation
site when parents need to visit safely with their children.
- Partner with existing resources. Include your local domestic violence or sexual assault program in donations and
community service projects. Adopt a shelter for which your church, temple, mosque or synagogue provides material support,
or provide similar support to families as they rebuild their lives following a shelter stay.
- Prepare to be a resource. Do the theological and scriptural homework necessary to better understand and respond
to family violence and receive training from professionals in the fields of sexual and domestic violence.
- Intervene. If you suspect violence is occurring in a relationship, speak to each member of the couple separately.
Help the victim plan for safety. Let both individuals know of the community resources available to assist them. Do not attempt
- Support professional training. Encourage and support training and education for clergy and lay leaders, hospital
chaplains, and seminary students to increase awareness about sexual and domestic violence.
- Address internal issues. Encourage continued efforts by religious institutions to address allegations of abuse
by religious leaders to ensure that religious leaders are a safe resource for victims and their children.
(Adapted in part from the Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition and the Center for the Prevention of
Sexual and Domestic Violence, Seattle, WA. Used with permission.)
Men and women spend more and
more of their daily lives in the workplace. Domestic violence is a workplace issue that affects the safety, health, and productivity
of America's workers. Business and labor leaders have identified several strategies that can be used to create safer and more
- Ensure Employee Assistance Programs are responsive to victims of domestic violence. Determine whether your company's
employee assistance program (EAP) includes domestic violence services or referrals. If it does not, speak with your human
resources director or the appropriate manager about the possibility of expanding the program to address the needs of employees
facing violence in their homes. All EAP personnel should receive domestic violence training and have an understanding of the
dynamics of domestic violence.
- Provide management with the tools to respond to domestic violence. Establish a training program for all supervisors
and managers at your workplace to give them guidance on how to respond when an employee is a victim or perpetrator of domestic
- Educate employees about domestic violence. Sponsor a workshop or series of workshops at your workplace on domestic
violence. Invite a domestic violence survivor to speak about her experiences and to discuss the impact of violence on her
life and her work.
- Share materials about domestic violence. Distribute educational materials about domestic violence to all employees
in your workplace and display posters and brochures in public places which explain the issue. Send the message that there
is no excuse for domestic violence. Make victim safety information available in private places such as restrooms or in paycheck
envelopes. All information should include the National Domestic Violence Hotline number, 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224
- Increase safety at the workplace. Find out whether security guards at your workplace have been trained to handle
the special safety needs of battered women, who may be stalked at work. If they have not, speak with the appropriate manager
to arrange training and help security personnel develop safety procedures.
- Coordinate with local law enforcement. Arrange a meeting between security personnel at your workplace and local
law enforcement agencies to facilitate appropriate information sharing and the development of collaborative working relationships.
- Join in local community efforts to combat domestic violence. Conduct a drive in your workplace to collect items
for local domestic violence shelters. Be sure to contact the programs first to find out what they want, but common needs for
shelters are toys, clothing, furniture, office equipment, office supplies, and food. Alternatively, make a contribution of
- Donate time and resources. Adopt a local domestic violence shelter by collecting money from coworkers for a joint
donation or by getting a group of coworkers to make a commitment of volunteer hours. For example, raise money to pay for a
new roof for a shelter; organize groups of volunteers to paint a shelter, do yard work around the shelter, assist with a special
event, or provide other specialized skills (Advisory Council on Violence Against Women 1996).
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Colleges and universities
offer important opportunities to educate young men and women about violence against women. Experiences on campuses will be
carried forth to everyday life and will influence future actions. Therefore, every effort to inform students may mean one
less victim abused or one less crime committed. Leaders in higher education have identified the following strategies to assist
educators across the country in reaching out to students and communities, and to make campuses safe places for women.
- Make the campus a safe place. Evaluate the safety and security of the campus environment and the quality and availability
of resources to ensure safety. For example, establish campus escort services through campus security and student government
- Increase awareness. Educate your students, faculty, and staff about the problem of sexual assault and dating violence
on college campuses. Provide adequate training on the signs that often accompany abuse, on victims' legal rights, and on available
- Target special groups. Identify target groups (i.e., new students, fraternities and sororities, athletes, etc.)
on your campus and develop specialized training and resources for them.
- Coordinate resources. Identify resources addressing violence against women on your campus and bring together local
community and university service providers.
- Encourage reporting of violence. Through orientation and awareness programs on campus, encourage students, faculty,
and staff to report incidents of violence. Develop effective linkages between campus and community law enforcement personnel.
- Provide services to the campus community. Support a coordinated community response to violence against women; ensure
that services are comprehensive and appropriate for the entire campus community.
- Develop an administration response to violence on campus. Establish protocols to manage complaints of violence
on your campus with care for the victim as the first priority. Your protocol should include a clearly defined process for
providing assistance to victims and holding the perpetrators accountable.
- Review and revise the student code of conduct and policies. Review your campus policies and disciplinary sanctions
to assess that violence against women is treated as seriously as other crimes, with equally severe punishments.
- Provide a voice for women on campus. Provide support for students and faculty to establish victim advocacy groups
- Get the message out to the campus community. Speak out against domestic violence and sexual assault in your position
of leadership on campus. Communicate expectations about appropriate conduct, include them in student policy statements. Post
information about available resources in dining halls, health facilities, dormitories, locker rooms, and other places where
students are likely to see it.
Today, more than ever, our sports players and
organizations have an enormous capacity to influence the minds and behaviors of Americans, both young and old. The reason
is simple. For many Americans, professional, college, and Olympic athletes are today's heroes. We must utilize this outlet
to send a positive message to all Americans about preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. Following are a number
of ways communities can work with the local sports industry to help stop the violence.
- Bring sports leagues together in a common cause. Encourage local sports teams to come together in a joint effort
to combat violence against women through joint awareness campaigns and public appearances.
- Create strict disciplinary policies. Encourage the creation of disciplinary policies for players on domestic violence
and violence against women similar to drug policies. These policies should include stiff sanctions and penalties for committing
domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Push for public service announcements (PSAs) during broadcast of sporting events. Write or call sports leagues
in support of PSAs about violence against women during the broadcast of major sporting events, including NCAA games.
- Promote the distribution of educational materials. Promote the distribution of educational materials from local
shelters and programs to players by offering the materials to the teams.
- Involve local sports heroes in community activities. Involve local sports heroes in rallies and events which bring
attention to the problem of violence against women.
- Reach out to potential sponsors. If there are businesses in the area that are known for making or selling sporting
equipment or clothing, approach them for sponsorship of community awareness activities.
The media industry represents much more than
television and film stars. It is the most influential source of information for millions of Americans. Before we can change
people's attitudes about violence against women and prevent violent behavior, we must not only change the way violence is
portrayed in the media, but also educate members of the media who report on domestic violence and sexual assault crime. Leaders
in the media industry have identified ways in which communities can work with their local media to encourage responsible reporting
of violence against women.
- Use the power of communication. Contact local television, radio, and newspapers urging thoughtful and accurate
coverage of violence against women, and the provision of educational messages about the problem when possible.
- Urge action through the local paper. Through community organizations, distribute model op-ed pieces and letters
to the editor and urge community action for placement of these pieces.
- Link media with experts. Provide media outlets with a list of well-known experts available for interviews and a
packet of materials with information on a variety of related subject areas, such as local shelters and programs.
- Organize public events. Plan a public event, such as a community education forum on violence against women, and
solicit local media coverage.
- Encourage employee awareness. Encourage the development of domestic violence awareness programs for employees of
- Build a bridge between media and law enforcement. Urge police chiefs and commissioners to go on air locally to
discuss domestic violence and violence against women.
- Provide a forum for community leaders. Encourage community leaders to speak to media about issues of violence against
- Publicize local resources through reporting. Encourage local media to include the National Domestic Violence Hotline
number, 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TDD), through reporting on incidents of domestic violence.