Domestic violence against women is as common in church-supporting households as in the wider community, according to the results of a Methodist research project.
One in four respondents to a survey had either witnessed or experienced domestic violence as a child or had experienced domestic violence from a partner as an adult. This is the same figure published by the British Medical Association for the whole community.
Domestic violence refers not only to physical assaults but also to systematic psychological, emotional or verbal abuse.
The Methodist project findings, which involved ministers and lay workers, also highlighted areas where the church fails to understand the problem of women and violence.
The project’s head, Lorraine Radford of the University of Surrey, said that a minority of respondents asserted that attitudes within the Methodist Church “were a considerable barrier to providing effective intervention against domestic violence and help to survivors.” Most respondents admitted little involvement with domestic violence projects, shelters or inter-agency forums, she said.