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.

1 “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women” by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sources of Help and Information

(Always Call 911 and/or the Police First If You Are In Immediate Danger)

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.

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/immigration-legal-services/ or contact (678) 222-3927.

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