Domestic violence awareness month is right around the corner, so we’ve made a list of five ways your faith community can work to raise awareness for an issue that affects 20 people every minute in the United States.

Encourage your faith leaders to get training

In our recent Broken Silence report surveying 1,000 protestant pastors in the US, we found that a majority of leaders estimated the prevalence of sexual and gender based violence in their congregations to be lower than what national statistics would suggest, and that many did more harm than good when attempting to address this violence within their community. Faith leaders must be adequately trained in how to address SGBV, and able to direct victims and survivors towards appropriate resources within their local area. Encourage your faith leader to attend webinars and trainings from our coalition member FaithTrust, or to check out our website for more links to further educational resources.

Make educational brochures and hotline sheets available in your gathering place

Providing information for people to access on their own time can help members of your community feel more comfortable learning about the issues surrounding domestic violence, and might just encourage victims to seek help! You can obtain these materials from a local domestic violence shelter or from the website of WWSO member, FaithTrust.

VAW.net also has a comprehensive list of educational resources catered to different faith communities.

Organize a candlelight vigil or service for victims of domestic violence

Help your community become more aware of the vast number of women, men and children affected by domestic violence in your state, country, and even the world by holding a candlelight vigil or service for victims and survivors of domestic violence. You could even consider using tea-light candles for the number of victims estimated to be affected in your local state or community.

Be sure to reach out to your local domestic violence crisis center or shelter to request the presence of a trained professional at your event as it can likely bring up painful and triggering memories for attendees.

If you’re having trouble finding what shelters or crisis centers are operating near you, check out this search tool.

Host a fundraiser for a local domestic abuse center or donate to WeWillSpeakOut.US

Reach out to a domestic abuse shelter in your area and ask if you can host a fundraiser or benefit at your local church, synagogue, mosque or gathering place on their behalf. Not only will this help to raise money for an important cause, but hosting a fundraiser will also bring people together around the issue of domestic violence and spark conversation within your faith community.

Also consider donating to WeWillSpeakOut.US so that we can continue to equip faith communities in the fight against sexual and gender based violence.

Share posts on your community Facebook page or other Social Media

Here’s a simple but effective way to raise awareness for domestic violence through your faith community’s Facebook page! In the digital age, lots of people find their information and exposure through their Facebook feeds so by following and sharing posts by WeWillSpeakOut.US or our coalition members you can help spread more information about domestic violence with your friends and family at the push of a button!

Is your faith community engaged in an event or initiative not mentioned on this list? Are you gathering together around domestic violence in a unique forum?  Let us know and we would love to highlight your efforts on our Facebook page!