Communities of faith can be a vital resource for victims of domestic violence when they serve as safe havens, remind victims that faith does not condone abuse and provide support that encourages hope and healing. The goal of the Laurel House DOVE program is to assist faith communities to be seen as resources for peace and healing for families dealing with abuse. To accomplish this goal, Laurel House shares information developed by religious leaders who are also skilled in domestic violence advocacy, assists victims to talk to persons from their own faith tradition about abuse and welcomes local faith communities to partner with Laurel House through a wide range or community awareness building and service activities.
Two key resources Laurel House offers are:
Additional materials are available through Laurel House, such as speakers and training sessions in pastoral care issues for domestic abuse. Some of the topics covered include theological issues that surround abuse, safety planning, issues to be aware of in couples and pre-marital counseling, providing support for abusers and how to help. In all instances, Laurel House emphasizes that safety for all involved must be a first priority.
In addition to working together to provide direct support for families, each year dozens of faith communities partner with Laurel House through service, community awareness and special events. Examples of some of the ways they are involved include: forming 5KDASH teams; collecting wish list items; baking casseroles; providing days of caring; making monetary donations; posting awareness information in restrooms; forming survivor support groups; hosting teen dating violence awareness sessions and more.
Here are some photos of the Dove program