ACBC Social Justice Statement 2022-2023: Bishops lament family, domestic violence
Australia’s bishops have used their annual social justice statement to condemn the scourge of
domestic and family violence, saying relationships must be “marked by respect and freedom
rather than coercion and control”.
The Church in Australia has published social justice statements each year since the 1940s on a
wide range of topics. This year’s statement is titled Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse.
The document draws on data around family and domestic violence, and gathers the insights of
people – especially women – on that data. It also reflects on the words and example of Jesus.
“The teaching of Christ urges us to promote relationships marked by respect and freedom rather
than coercion and control,” Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop
Timothy Costelloe SDB writes in the foreword.
“The message of the Gospel is not a message of domination of one person over another but a
message of mutual esteem and kindness.”
The statement, citing the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, explains that family and
domestic violence “affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds”, but notes it
“predominantly affects women and children”.
Younger women, women with disabilities, people in regional areas, people from culturally and
linguistically diverse backgrounds and members of the LGBTQI+ community were highlighted as
particularly vulnerable to violence, various studies have found.
The statement also points out that “family and domestic violence is a painful and complex reality
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities”.
The document’s sections cover the importance of listening to women and children, the drivers
and enablers of violence, supporting respectful relationships and the importance of respect,
dignity and justice, as well as transformation and hope.
The statement concedes that in some contexts, Scripture has been used to explain or even justify
instances of violence against women or children. It rejects such distortions.
Passages used to imply the inferiority of women or children “do not reflect a context in which the
equal dignity of every human being created in the image and likeness of God is acknowledged, or
in which marriage is based on a relationship of love, mutuality and partnership”.
“The respect due to each member of a family, household or community should reflect the
respect and care shown for others by Christ,” the statement says.
The statement promotes programs and agencies that support those who suffer various forms of
violence, but also highlights the importance of support for those who perpetrate such violence.
The Catholic Church is a major provider of services for all people affected by domestic and family
violence through its dioceses, agencies, religious institutes and other organisations.
Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse has been published ahead of the Catholic Church’s
celebration of Social Justice Sunday on the last Sunday of August – August 28 this year.
The statement and associated resources can be found at: www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au
Account means the account held at your financial institution from which we are authorised to arrange for funds to be debited.
Agreement means this Direct Debit Request Service Agreement between you and us, including the direct debit request.
Business day means a day other than a Saturday or a Sunday or a listed public holiday.
Debit day means the day that payment is due.
Debit payment means a particular transaction where a debit is made, according to your direct debit request.
Direct debit request means the Direct Debit Request between us and you.
Us and we and our means the Catholic Development Fund.
You means the customer(s) who signed the direct debit request. Your financial institution is the financial institution where you hold the account that you have authorised us to arrange to debit.
Debiting your account
By submitting a direct debit request, you have authorised us to arrange for funds to be debited from your account according to the agreement we have with you.
We will only arrange for funds to be debited from your account:
As authorised in the direct debit request; if the debit day falls on a day that is not a business day, we may direct your financial institution to debit your account on the following or previous business day. If you are unsure about which day your account has or will be debited, please check with your financial
Changes by you
If you wish to stop or defer a debit payment you must write to us at least 5 business days before the next debit day.
This notice should be given to us in the first instance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient clear funds available in your account to allow a debit payment to be made.
If there are insufficient clear funds available in your account to meet a debit payment:
you or your account may be charged a fee and/or interest by your financial institution;
you or your account may be charged a fee to reimburse us for charges we have incurred for the failed transaction;
you must arrange for the payment to be made by another method
Please check your account statement to verify that the amounts debited from your account are correct.
If you believe that there has been an error in debiting your account you should call us on 1800 047 703 and confirm the details in writing with us as soon as possible so that we can resolve your query quickly.
You should check:
with your financial institution whether direct debiting is available from your accounts offered by financial
your account details which you have provided to us are correct by checking them against a recent account statement; and
with your financial institution before completing the direct debit request if you have any queries about how to complete the direct debit
Warning: if the account number you have quoted is incorrect, you may be charged a fee to reimburse our costs in correcting any deductions from:
an account you do not have authority to operate; or
an account you do not
We will keep any information (including your account details) in your direct debit request confidential.
We will make reasonable efforts to keep any such information that we have about you secure and to ensure that any of our employees or agents who have access to information about you, do not make any unauthorised use, modification, reproduction or disclosure of that information.
However, we may use your contact details to provide information about the fund. Should you wish this not to be the case, please advise the fund in writing.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.