Communiqué: outcomes of an international workshop for strengthening the global faith movement for gender justice.
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Pledging to Be Part of the Solution
On 15 July 2015, faith leaders from across the UK gathered at the House of Lords to speak out against domestic abuse. It was the first time that different faith leaders have stood together to acknowledge the problem of domestic abuse within their own faith communities, and to pledge to do something about it.
The first step: a nationwide Faith Leaders’ Declaration on Domestic Abuse endorsed by dozens of prominent UK faith leaders. Above all, the Declaration affirms that domestic abuse is irreconcilable with the teachings of our faiths. It commits faith leaders to addressing domestic abuse and promoting positive action. It also provides a practical definition for identifying domestic abuse in all its forms.
Hosted by Lord McColl of Dulwich and organised by Restored and FaithAction, the July 15th interfaith reception was an incredible opportunity for faith leaders to recognise our unique opportunities for challenging harmful beliefs and seeking an end to domestic abuse in our faith communities. The event featured speeches from Baroness Scotland (former Attorney General), Shahin Ashraf (Muslim Women’s Network UK), and Alastair Redfern (Bishop of Derby). Following the reception, we hope that faith leaders will endorse, circulate, and use the Declaration within their own faith communities.
For the next step of this initiative, Restored is looking for personal stories about how different people and faiths are working to end domestic abuse in the UK. On the 25th of November, we plan to publish these stories and show how effective a faith-based response can be in ending domestic abuse.
If you have any stories on how faith groups are working to end domestic abuse in your community, please send them to email@example.com.
‘Why is this declaration important? Because in all faiths in Britain right now, domestic abuse is being committed unseen and unreported. What this declaration says to perpetrators of domestic violence is that we, as faith leaders, will not tolerate it, nor remain silent about it, but, recognising the unique and positive opportunities we have within our faith communities, will challenge abusive patterns of behaviour, whether physical, sexual, psychological or spiritual, that have become too common within our faiths and wider society.’
– Peter Grant, co-director of Restored
‘There are a number of misconceptions regarding domestic abuse and religion in our society. It is the duty of religious teachers to provide clarity and guidance on this issue as well as repel any incorrect beliefs and perceptions people may have about this growing problem.’
– Abdullah Hasan, Chief Imam at Holborn Mosque
‘Domestic abuse affects men and women of all faiths and backgrounds, and its impact can be felt across the generations. An estimated 1.4m women and 700,000 men were victims of abuse last year according to the ONS. There is much that faith institutions can do to challenge such behaviour and break that cycle of abuse. This declaration is a good first step in acknowledging that the problem exists and that all people of faith have an active role to play in changing society for the better.’
– Jasvir Singh, Chair of City Sikhs
‘Violence against women is a human problem, not a specifically religious one. But faith leaders have the potential to be part of the problem or part of the solution. In signing this charter we are pledging to be part of the solution.’
– Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford
Read the Restored press release: link
You can view the final report from the 16 days campaign carried out by WWSOSA in 2014.
Here are some pictures from the 16 days campaign led and facilitated by WWSOSA in 2014.