Course Description

This free online course, created by FaithTrust Institute, is an introduction to the issue of domestic violence for faith communities. It includes general information about domestic violence, but focuses primarily on the issue of faith for victims/survivors, as well as perpetrators.


This course is intended to help you, as an individual and as a member of a spiritual community, learn more about:

  • Theological Issues: How is your church addressing the spiritual questions that victims ask most often?
  • Safety Issues: How to create a safer community
  • What we can do!


Creation of this course was sponsored by InFaith Community Foundation

Non-Profit Organization

FaithTrust Institute

FaithTrust Institute is a national multi-faith, multi-cultural non-profit organization with a 40 year legacy of working with faith communities and advocates to address and prevent domestic and sexual violence.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Introduction

    • Why This Is Important

    • Why We Created This Course

    • Goals and Objectives of the Course

    • About the Course Sponsor: InFaith Community Foundation

    • What do you know about domestic violence?

  • 2

    2. Domestic Violence is a Reality

    • Definitions

    • Terms We Use

    • Intimate Partner Violence Doesn't Happen in a Vacuum

    • Is there really domestic violence in MY community? in MY church?

    • Statistics tell part of the story...

    • Survivors Tell Their Stories (Broken Vows: Religious Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Part 1)

    • Issues Raised by Broken Vows (Part 1)

    • Survey: Responses to Broken Vows, Part 1

    • Possible Signs of Abuse

    • Review: Domestic Violence is a Reality

  • 3

    3. What Causes Intimate Partner Violence?

    • Domestic Violence is a LEARNED Behavior

    • Power and Control Wheel

    • Jackson Katz: Violence Against Women--It's a Men's Issue

  • 4

    4. What's the Impact of Domestic Violence?

    • The Impact Can Last a Lifetime

    • We Have to Talk About Trauma

    • What Does Trauma Look Like?

  • 5

    5. Myth: She Could Just Leave

    • People ask "Why Does She Stay?"

    • Survivors Speak Out on Twitter: #WhyIStayed

    • Some #WhyIStayed tweets related to religion

    • Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship

    • Why Domestic Violence Victims Don't Leave: Leslie Morgan Steiner

    • QUESTIONAIRE: Why She Stays

  • 6

    6. Spiritual Questions of Victims/Survivors

    • A Spiritual Crisis is a Crisis

    • Some Questions of a Spiritual Crisis

    • Christianity will be a Resource or a Roadblock

  • 7

    7. Roadblocks: How Religion Can Harm Victims of Domestic Violence

    • Religious Roadblocks

    • Roadblock Animation

  • 8

    8. Resources: How Religion Can Affirm & Support a Victim of Domestic Violence

    • Religious Resources

    • Toward a Theology of Healing

    • Resources Animation

  • 9

    9. Text Study: Understanding Resources and Roadblocks

    • The Diversity of Biblical Interpretation

    • One Particular Roadblock: Proof-Texting

    • Interpretation of Spiritual Texts

    • Text Study: Ephesians 5:21-33

    • Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune on Ephesians 5:21-33

    • Text Study: ​Malachi 2:13–16

    • Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune on Malachi 2:13-16

    • Text Study: Luke 17:1-4

    • Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune on Luke 17:1-4

    • Review: Resources from Scripture

  • 10

    10. The Faithful Response

    • Bystander--another name for Good Samaritan?

    • Text Study: The Good Stranger or Parable of the Bystander

    • 3 Ways to Assist Survivors

    • Know Your Role

    • Know Your Goals

    • Your Faithful Response

    • Helpful Phrases...or What to Say

    • Guidelines for Faith Leaders

    • Broken Vows, Part 2

    • Four Steps to Take to Assist Survivors

    • What is a Victim Advocate and What Do They Do?

    • Allying with Advocates: Creating a Safety Team

    • Safety is ALWAYS the Primary Concern

  • 11

    11. Why We Need a Community Response

    • Related Issues

    • What is a Trauma-Informed Community?

    • The Community Map: Resources for Victims of Abuse and Violence

    • Mapping YOUR Community

    • Community Collaboration Checklist

    • The Work of the Church in Supporting Healing

  • 12

    12. What Your Faith Community Can Do

    • The Special Role of a Faith Community

    • 10 Things a Faith Community Can Do

  • 13

    13. An Ally's Resource List

    • More Information: Online Resources

    • Faith Community Declaration

    • Read: Commentary on Religion and Domestic Violence

    • For Further Study & Reflection: Recommended Books

    • Get Connected to FaithTrust Institute