Violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form-physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal is sinful; often, it is a crime as well.
—U.S Catholic Bishops, When I Call for Help, 2002
Domestic violence is any kind of behavior that a person uses, or threatens to use, to control an intimate partner. The two key elements are threat and control. Domestic violence can take various forms:
- Physical: Violent actions such as hitting, beating, pushing, and kicking. In many cases physical abuse becomes more frequent and severe over time
- Sexual: Includes any sexual acts that are forced on one partner by the other
- Psychological: Includes a wide range of behaviors such as intimidation, isolating the victim from friends and family, controlling where the victim goes, making the victim feel guilty or crazy, and making unreasonable demands
- Emotional: Undermining an individual’s self-esteem, constant criticism, insults, put-downs, and name-calling
- Economic:Examples include limiting the victim’s access to family income, preventing the victim from working or forcing the victim to work, destroying the victim’s property, and making all the financial decisions
The U.S. Catholic Bishops have made clear that domestic violence should never be tolerated. In the USCCB’s official statement of Domestic Violence, When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, the bishops firmly condemn all forms of Domestic violence. As Catholics we believe that domestic violence, in complete opposition to our Catholic Social Teaching, disintegrates the fundamental social institutions of marriage and family, endangers the life and dignity of a human person, and deprives a person of their fundamental rights. Such action against the dignity of a spouse is a tragic reality that we are facing that must be exposed and addressed.
For more information on overcoming these obstacles, please visit For Your Marriage.
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women”
- Los Obispos Católicos de EEUU: “Cuando Pido Ayuda: Una Respuesta Pastoral A La Violencia Doméstica Contra La Mujer”
- Catholics for Family Peace
- Domestic Violence Resources from the U.S. Catholic Bishops
- Recursos Sobre Violencia Doméstica de los Obispos Católicos de EEUU
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Resources
- Mark the last weekend in October for Domestic Violence Awareness at your parish
- Work with your pastor to be prepared as a parish to make referrals and share resources (you don’t have to know it all, just pass along the info and care!)
- Make available local DV agency business cards with all four hotline numbers in your parish (available through our office)
- Pamphlets, Books, and Support Group Material For Order
- Invite an expert out to speak at your parish group to educate families, prevent unhealthy relationships, and improve family relational skills.