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The Anglican Church of Australia “has role to play in promoting healthy, respectful relationships”, it said as it announced a research project on domestic violence. The research will examine “the nature and prevalence of family violence in Anglican-affiliated families” in a project designed to help the Church to tackle domestic violence. Beginning next year, the three-stage project will include surveys and interviews with Anglicans within and outside the Church, with clergy and church leaders, and a sample of the broader population.
The project was approved by the Church’s national Standing Committee last week. It will include surveys and interviews with Anglicans within and outside the Church, with clergy and church leaders, and a sample of the broader population.
The Church approached several Australian universities and research organisations to design the independent study.
“The decision to conduct research is a recognition of the extent of the problem of family violence in our culture and a desire by the Church to be part of the solution”, Tracy Lauersen, who has been leading a working group in family violence for the Church, said, “Preventing violence is better than treating its symptoms and to do that we need to understand the nature of the problem, its prevalence, and any characteristics of our church communities that we need to address.”
Lauersen said that while there was anecdotal evidence about family violence in faith communities, there was absence of solid research. Without that, the Church could not create best-practice prevention policies nor know the best ways to assist those affected by violence, she said.
“The church has a significant role in the lives of millions of Australians and has a great desire to promote healthy and respectful relationships and to complement the work being done by government and other organisations to change the narrative for women and others who find themselves subjected to violence in any form.”