Stopping Domestic Violence and Abuse
“…the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace. It is no wonder, therefore, that violence, if perpetrated in the family, is seen as particularly intolerable.” – Pope Benedict XVI
Patterns of domestic violence or abuse of any kind between people in marriage or dating relationships, or in child abuse, are often learned in families. Unless something changes, these patterns can be repeated in generation after generation. It can be very difficult to break free from this vicious cycle.
“The Catholic Church teaches that violence against another person in any form fails to treat that person as someone worthy of love. Instead, it treats the person as an object to be used. When violence occurs within a sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, “How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?” The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises.”[*1]
Violence and abuse can take many forms – physical, sexual, psychological, verbal or economic. If you are an abuser, a victim, or both; please seek help to break the pattern. If you are not sure the problem is serious enough, or who is at fault, talk confidentially about it to someone you trust or call one of the numbers listed below. You may be too close to the situation to make an accurate judgment.
For victims, it can be dangerous to stay and dangerous to leave. Only you can judge the risk. So first make a safety plan and take any necessary steps to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible. Then when you can, seek the support and help you need to end the cycle of violence. Use the resources listed below. You are not alone. Help is available.
Sources of Help and Information
Always Call 911 and/or the Police First If You Are In Immediate Danger
- A quick reference pamphlet from the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship about domestic violence with a list of resources available in the Archdiocese of Atlanta:
- Your parish can help you with spiritual and emotional support as well as with connecting you to the resources you may need. Click here to find a parish near you.
- “When I Call For Help” by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) available in both English and Spanish.
- Catholics for Family Peace have drawn together many helpful resources for parish leaders to use during October and throughout the year.
- More information about Catholic marriage and domestic violence can be found at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site www.foryourmarriage.org
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) www.ndvh.org (website has recommendations for creating safety plans)
- Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) Visit www.gcadv.org or call their hotline for Georgia: (404) 209-0280 or 1-800-334-2836
- Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) www.padv.org (website has recommendations for creating safety plans)
For Help in Many Languages
- International Women’s House 24 Hour Hotline: 770-413-5557
- Tapestri, Inc.: 404-299-2185 or 1-866-562-2873 www.tapestri.org
- Caminar Latino 404-413-6348 http://www.caminarlatino.org
- La Línea Nacional sobre Violencia Doméstica: 1-800-799-7233
- Good Shepherd Services (Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese): 770-455-9379; Clayton and South: 404-366-8677
For Parents and Their Children
Both of the listings below are 24-hour, 7-day-a-week national hotlines staffed by professional counselors to help:
- parents figure out solutions to parenting problems
- parents who are worried they may harm their child
- children who are fearful of being harmed by a family member or caretaker
Translation service is available. The websites also post free articles to learn about parenting skills and child abuse prevention.
- The Boystown National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000 | http://www.boystown.org/national-hotline
- Childhelp USA, National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 | https://www.childhelp.org
For Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees
Immigration Legal Services of Catholic Charities Atlanta provides services to immigrants, refugees and asylees: helps eligible individuals and families obtain legal status, assists clients to naturalize, and provides legal representation in deportation proceedings. They specialize in assistance to survivors of domestic violence, abandoned or neglected foreign children, detained clients and victims of trafficking and crimes.
Visit https://catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/ils/ or contact (678) 222-3920.