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Tell us about yourself: who are you and what do you do? 
Hello! We are David, Liz and Deb and together with 7 colleagues based around the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland we form The Salvation Army Family Ministries Team. The Salvation Army is a denomination of the Christian Church which believes in putting Christian faith and love into practice. The Family Ministries Team exists to empower, equip and enable people of all ages to journey together, building appropriate relationships with others, having the intention of bringing them to faith in Christ and spiritual maturity.
 
Family Ministries within The Salvation Army provides resources, support and training for children, adults and families including Toddler Groups, Parenting Programmes, Women’s and Men’s Groups and much more.
As a team we have decided that one of our priority areas of work will be continuing to develop an effective and helpful Salvation Army response to victims and survivors of domestic abuse, as well as holding perpetrators to account for their behaviour. The ‘In Churches Too’ research published in 2018 indicates that individuals within Christian relationships experience a similar level of domestic abuse to the general population and in some cases the Church is poorly equipped to respond. The Salvation Army has a long history of responding to the needs of victims and we want to ensure our response is as good as it can be. 

How does your research or your work connect to activism? 

At the present time we have anecdotal evidence of domestic abuse being a significant negative factor for many people we come into contact with, whether through our Churches, community programmes, Lifehouses [hostels] and many other settings. Many different individuals within The Salvation Army have some expertise through personal experiences and specific community and residential victim programmes and we are seeking to draw this knowledge and expertise together to promote good practice in our response to victims.
We also engage with the public debate around domestic abuse, responding to Government consultations and keeping up to date with the agenda.
 
The Salvation Army Family Ministries Team has recently engaged in a conversation with the Centre for Public Life at Leeds University and we are very much hoping to build on this relationship in order to collaborate on research into Domestic Abuse and further develop our response to victims and perpetrators. As part of this we are very interested to hear about the work of the Shiloh Project.
 
And with regard to the issue of  modern slavery, the Salvation Army is responsible for delivering safe houses and all the much needed support for victims and is very much engaged in speaking out against this evil wherever we can.
 
Why is activism important to you and what do you hope to achieve between now and the 16 Days of 2020?
 
Activism has always been at the heart of The Salvation Army, from it’s campaigns in Victorian times to raise the age of sexual consent to 16 or to challenge unhealthy and dangerous working conditions to more recent government challenges on gambling legislation or benefit changes.  Activism is therefore important to within Family Ministries and to coincide with the 16 days of activism regarding violence against women and girls, we set up a stand at our UK Headquarters to raise awareness amongst our work colleagues. We attach a picture of us with our colleagues from the International Development Team who work to raise the issue of violence against women and girls internationally.
 
Additionally  we also visited the TLC art exhibition at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters, show casing art created by a group of domestic abuse survivors from a Salvation Army project. This project was led by an artist who is herself a survivor of domestic abuse. Once this exhibition finishes, the art will be sold and the proceeds given to the TLC Project.
 
In the intervening year before 2021’s 16 Days of Activism, we hope to have fully established our Domestic Abuse Steering Group and begun the work of educating, training and resourcing our colleagues to always respond well to victims and perpetrators, and to have progressed our research relationship with Leeds University.

Tags : domestic abusefamily violenceSalvation ArmyUN 16 Days of Activism
Caroline Blyth

The author Caroline Blyth

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