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Northern Ireland Women’s Aid welcomes “Ending the Pain and Healing the Hurt”, a publication launched today.  The booklet is a practical guide to responding to domestic violence aimed at faith communities in Ireland.  Leaders are urged to educate their congregations about the needs of families and resources in the community and to learn more about responding appropriately themselves. 

Guidance is given on the laws on domestic violence, help available for victims and perpetrators and preaching on domestic violence. 

The four main churches were represented by: 

1.      Rt Rev Dr John Lockington, Moderator Presbyterian Council

2.      Rt Rev James Moore, Bishop of Connor (Church of Ireland)

3.      Dr Kenneth Wilson, President of the Methodist Church

4.      Rev Michael McGinnity, Family Ministry Office, Diocese of Down & Connor (Roman Catholic). 

Among others present were members of the Bahá’i faith, Baptists and Christian Fellowship churches.

TV presenter, Wendy Austin, ensured that many of the guests were able to contribute their ideas for tackling domestic violence, using the theme “Translating Hope into Action”. 

The initiative arose from the Regional Forum on Domestic Violence.  Its Churches Sub Group has worked for over a year to agree strategies in response to the Forum’s decision to work against domestic violence by involving all of the key players in the community. 

Angela Courtney, Regional Management Co-ordinator of Northern Ireland Women’s Aid Federation, who is a member of the Forum on Domestic Violence and chairs the Churches Sub Group, said: 

“It is apparent that church communities could make a huge difference in increasing awareness and creating a more compassionate society.  I have been tremendously encouraged by the commitment of those who have come forward to work on the issue.  It is obvious that clergy and parish workers are well aware of domestic violence in their communities, what has been lacking is guidance and strategies for responding.  I hope that the launch of this booklet marks a significant turning point.”   

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