Efforts to address domestic violence in religious communities are not new. Numerous initiatives by academics, practitioners and religious believers have emerged that recognise the need for a close engagement with religious beliefs and religious personnel, historically neglected in the secular domestic violence sectors dominant in Northern societies. While increasing attention has been given to issues around ethnicity and race, with more community-based organisations sprouting to support ethnic minority groups and populations less integrated in mainstream society, much more needs to happen to achieve a substantive engagement with religio-cultural worldviews and to understand how these intertwine with collective histories, gender norms and individual psychologies to affect attitudes about and responses to domestic violence in communities of distinct religio-cultural traditions.

Moreover, western societies’ particular relationship to ‘religion’ has meant a deeply-rooted discomfort vis-à-vis religious beliefs in public life, which has likely impeded domestic violence practitioners from appreciating fully the resourcefulness of religious traditions and beliefs. Problematically also, less attention has been given to non-western religious contexts, reflecting the continuation of western Euro-centric legacies in domestic violence research and public health practice. Efforts to learn from Southern societies and to employ this knowledge to build more religio-culturally sensitive domestic violence support systems in Northern societies are much needed, but still missing.

This webinar presented on current approaches to domestic violence in religious communities from around the world and explored their contributions, identifying directions for the future. A main objective was to examine past and current approaches with reflexivity to the limitation of western understandings of ‘religion’ and to contribute to a diversification of domestic violence understandings and approaches by promoting more Southern-Northern knowledge exchange.

Click here for the presenters’ bios