Faith Communities Address Domestic Violence

Recognize, Respond and Refer

The 18 June 2020 General Council meeting was successfully held via Zoom (due to COVID-19 restrictions). It focussed on faith communities addressing domestic violence in Queensland.

Our guest speakers were Caroline Fitzpatrick, Manager of 99 Steps CALD Domestic and Family Violence Program, and Jatinder Kaur, Manager of Women’s Sahara House, a self-funded refuge for women from the Indian and Sri Lankan communities (operated by the Sikh Temple in Brisbane).

Both women talked about their work to support victims of domestic violence – especially those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. They shared confronting statistics.

Caroline stated that 31 women have died this year due to domestic violence. She pointed out that domestic violence takes many forms: physical, sexual, financial, cultural, spiritual, emotional and threatening stalking behaviour. She said it can be dangerous to counsel partners together. She noted the critical time, when the abused partner leaves the relationship, is when homicides occur.

Jatinder pointed out that while the Sikh religion teaches strong gender equality, other elements of Indian culture can overshadow these religious teachings, hindering women from seeking help.

She said faith communities can play an important role to help prevent domestic violence. We need to identify the skill sets that currently exist in our groups and upskill our community leaders to Recognize, Respond and Refer.

Speaker contact details

Caroline Fitzpatrick, Manager
99 Steps CALD Domestic and Family Violence Program,
Access Community Services Ltd
Phone: (07) 3412 8221
Mobile: 0447 528 399

Ms Jatinder Kaur, M.SocWk, M.Soc Admin B.A. (Psy)
Accredited Mental Health Social Worker
Director of JK Diversity Consultants,
Manager of Women’s Sahara House
Mobile: 0422 887 579