The verbal, physical, and sexual violence that women endure in some marriages contradicts the very nature of the conjugal union. (Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia #54)
Fr. Chuck Dahm, O.P., is a Dominican priest and the Chicago Archdiocesan Director of Domestic Violence Outreach. As Director, he has preached on domestic violence in more than 140 parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and developed in ministries in over 100 parishes. To learn more about the Chicago Archdiocesan Domestic Violence Outreach, please click here. Fr. Chuck’s parish ministry program was the inspiration behind Ascension Parish’s Safe Place Faith Community Outreach Team (see below).
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women (English & Spanish)
Since 2016, we at Ascension’s Safe Place Faith Community Outreach Team have been actively working to raise AWARENESS of domestic violence, whether physical and/or emotional, within our parish and the community-at-large. By working with the clergy and creating an accepting environment, we encourage victims to reach out for help and CONNECT TO COMMUNITY RESOURCES like the San Diego Family Justice Center. We work to PREVENT intimate partner violence in our parish and our community by providing a variety of lay services:
- Posting domestic violence facts and information in our bulletin
- Tabling after Mass to distribute brochures with contact information to community resources
- Praying for victims and perpetrators in our Mass intentions
- Coordinating and publicizing events led by professionals on topics such as abuse and healthy relationships
Angela Elfman, Chairperson
Safe Place Community Outreach Team
Dr. Christauria Welland, clinical psychologist based here in San Diego, serves on the Advisory Board of Catholics for Family Peace at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She is also the founder and director of Pax in Familia, an international Catholic ministry dedicated to peace-building and to ending abuse and violence in Catholic families. Dr. Welland has a private practice in Solana Beach, and is the author of several books, including a Spanish-language treatment program for those who abuse. Her books are available for free download, including How to Can We Help to End Violence in Catholic Families? A Guide for Clergy, Religious & Laity in multiple languages on the Pax in Familia website.
Catholics for Family Peace has also created a toolkit for parishes and dioceses to prevent and increase awareness around domestic violence.
Recommendations from the San Diego Police Department
You are a victim of domestic violence, and police officers are summoned to your home. You are possibly injured, in fear, and do not know what questions to ask for further HELP! The following guidelines will assist in answering those often difficult questions that you may have in your time of need.
- File a crime report and get a case number. A detective will contact you about the case.
- Should you choose to remain in your present relationship, your safety is extremely important. Consider keeping an emergency bag packed with clothing, money, emergency telephone numbers and/or toys for children.
- Many batterers, unless held accountable, will batter again! We recommend obtaining a restraining order. A temporary restraining order (TRO) will be granted for a period of ten days. If the order is granted by the Family Court Judge, it is recommended that you give a copy of the restraining order to the Marshal, so that the offender can be served. Both you, and the offender will be ordered to return in ten days, so it can be finalized for a period of THREE YEARS.
- Make copies of the restraining order, so you, family members, friends, neighbors and your employer can be aware of the situation. If you have the restraining order BEFORE you call the police, give a copy to the officer.
- Keep a record of all violations of the terms of the TRO or EPO. Keep it in a secure place. Report all violations to the detective in charge of your case.
- Change your home locks.
- Consider getting a dog.
- Get an unlisted phone number. Tell your family and friends not to give out the number to anyone else.
Answers to many questions about domestic violence are contained in a consumer education pamphlet entitled “Can the Law Protect Me from Domestic Violence?” published by the State Bar of California. It can be ordered by calling (888) 875-5297.
Domestic Violence Hotlines in San Diego County:
San Diego County Domestic Violence 24 hour hotline at 1-888-DVLINKS.
Center for Community Solutions at (888) 385-4657
YWCA’s Battered Women’s Services at (619) 239-2341
All services are 24-hour hotlines that are staffed with persons who can evaluate situations and make referrals for counseling, legal assistance, shelters, support groups, etc.
National Domestic Violence Hotline provides assistance in 200 languages. (800) 799-7233