The Record

08 Sep 2022

By Jamie O’Brien

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton has mirrored Pope Francis sentiment in relation to domestic violence, following the Perth launch of the 2022 Social Justice statement Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse.

The Perth launch of the 2022 Social Justice Statement, held last Tuesday 23 August at Newman Siena Centre, was attended by representatives from Archdiocesan agencies and organisations, CEWA, Notre Dame University as well as local Catholics and clergy.

Justice Ecology and Development Office Director Carol Mitchell launched the statement, emphasising that it acknowledges the more gendered and learned nature of intimate partner domestic violence as well as broader family violence and abuse.

“But notes that this needs to be a whole of community concern with corresponding effective action,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“That is, timely and culturally appropriate safety plans are needed, with the prioritising of the survivors’ safetyas wellas holding theperpetrators to accountfor their actions (such as through perpetrator behaviour change programs)as theyare both critical,” she said.

Mrs Mitchell also highlighted that attendees at the launch were asked to consider that we all have a positive part to play to promote respectful relationships – thus enabling individuals, families and communities to flourish. So, we challenge you today to prayerfully reflect on what is going to move you to social justice action – to help enable others to safety and ‘fullness of life’ (cf John 10:10); and to confront violence and abuse in its many forms.

Given those in attendance represented a cross-section of Catholic agencies and institutions who are well placed to further promote the Statement, the JEDO facilitated Perth Launch broadens the range of change agents so more can heed the call to respect one another through “relationships marked by equality and reciprocity rather than dominion and control; respect and freedom rather than coercion and control” (SJS, p 13),” Mrs Mitchell said.

“He reiterates Canon 1153, saying that in cases where a spouse and children are experiencing violence and abuse, ‘separation becomes inevitable’ and even ‘morally necessary’ for their safety,” Bishop Sproxton explained.

“He expresses deep empathy for persons in those situations, ‘who have been forced by maltreatment from a husband or wife to interrupt their life together.’


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