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Women's Association of Religious Professionals Holds Inaugural Brown Bag Lunch Discussion Focused on Domestic Violence

On Monday, August 15, 2016, the Women’s Association of Religious Professionals held their first brown bag lunch at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The topic was domestic violence.

The group of clergywomen and other religious professionals learned about the state of affairs of domestic violence policy in Texas from Shannon Edmonds of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, and Valinda Bolton and Debbie Tucker of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Presenters emphasized the ways that domestic violence affects every faith community, and suggested that clergywomen are in a unique position to help. After confiding in a close friend or family member and contacting law enforcement, victims of domestic violence often reach out to their ministers for counsel and encouragement. The presenters emphasized that the most important message for a person to receive from their clergy is that “no one deserves to be abused.”

Speakers suggested that congregations can do many things, including offering educational programming aimed at preventing cycles of abuse. Programs can be geared for boys as well as girls, and for the parents of both boys and girls. An example of nationally recognized programming is Expect Respect from SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone).

On August 24, several clergywomen will continue their engagement on the issue of domestic violence by traveling to Corpus Christi for the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence’s public hearing on its domestic violence interim charge. House Speaker Joe Straus charged the Committee to “study programs and identify best practices focused on the intervention and prevention of family violence.”

For more information on the issue of domestic violence, read our Better Neighbors newsletter. If you are a religious professional in Texas interested in the Women’s Association of Religious Professionals, learn more and get involved by contacting Sarah Delafuente.



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