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Source: Getty

When it comes to domestic violence, Protestant pastors want to be helpful but often don’t know where to start, a new study shows.

Most say their church would be a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. But many don’t know if anyone in their church has been a victim of domestic violence. And only half say they have a plan in place to help if a victim comes forward, according to a new report on churches and domestic abuse from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. The study, conducted Aug. 22–Sept. 16, is based on a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said churches want to help victims of domestic violence but aren’t always effective at doing so.

“Many pastors aren’t aware if domestic violence is happening in their congregation,” McConnell said. “And even if they are aware, they often don’t know how to help.”

Churches see themselves as safe haven

LifeWay Research found most pastors (87 percent) strongly agree with the statement, “a person experiencing domestic violence would find our church to be a safe haven.” Eleven percent somewhat agree. One percent are not sure.

Most pastors (89 percent) also agree their church regularly communicates that domestic violence is not OK — with more than half (56 percent) who strongly agree.

Yet nearly half of pastors (47 percent) say they don’t know if anyone in their church has been a victim of domestic violence in the last three years. A third (37 percent) say a church member has been a victim of domestic violence. Fifteen percent say no one has experienced domestic violence.

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source: Baptist Press

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