Messages of support

If you’d like to send us a message of support, please contact us.

Graham Norvic

The Rt Revd Graham James Lord Bishop of Norwich

Domestic abuse lies hidden in many families. Many of us will know victims of domestic abuse without realising it. Victims keep it hidden, not just abusers. Yet there are signs which can alert us.

Breaking the silence is a beginning, but how can any of us help? The resources offered on this website provide an introduction. Church communities should be especially vigilant in this area and also potentially of great help given the network of friendships they nurture.

I am very grateful to those among our clergy and in the Mothers’ Union who have taken this ministry seriously and helped to develop what we can offer. Domestic violence and abuse is a scourge in many people’s lives, and one which prevents its victims believing themselves to be lovable. We want them to know they are loved by those who seek to help them and by God.

Matthew Hutton

Reader St Stephen’s Church Norwich and Trustee of ‘Restored’

I was so encouraged to see this initiative yesterday, just as I was returning from the first AGM of Restored in Teddington (an international Christian alliance committed to the restoration of relationships and to the ending of violence against women: see www.restoredrelationships.org).

The scourge of domestic violence, so often hidden and unspoken, is an horrific blot on our society and on God’s perfect plan for relationships between men and women. It is exciting to me to see how all around the UK and indeed internationally a wide variety of initiatives have begun and are growing to bring healing and hope to the victims, to focus attention on the issue of violence against women and to work towards changing attitudes (as it’s so often a generational matter).

Dr. Jack N. Lawson

Development and Evangelism Enabler, East Anglia District of the Methodist Church, member of the Norwich Cathedral Community

Despite growing awareness, domestic violence is still an epidemic blighting so much of our society--not to mention the rest of the world. Sadly, like any form of abuse, if the wounds are not treated--and healed--then domestic violence goes on to become an intergenerational problem. Although most of domestic violence (that we know of) is directed against women and children, men are also victims--and much less likely to come forward, due to cultural stereotypes. As a former prison chaplain in a women's prison, it is a fact that the majority of women in prison have come out of households plagued by violence.

Another sad fact is that most victicms of violence feel that they are somehow responsible. They justify their predicament with false reasoning, e.g.: "If only I were a better cook," "If only I were a better mother," "If only I earned more money...had a better education....were wittier...thinner....prettier, etc." Many of us will have friends or family members who are subject to domestic violence, thus we need to be both aware of the signs and vigilant in our support and intolerant of violence for any reason.

Thank you for what you are doing to encourage church communities to take a stand to 'break the silence'.

Note: Dr Lawson's published a novel in 2010 which looks at the problem of domestic violence — as it is one of the main reasons many women end up in prison. The book makes a good resource for study groups and Dr Lawson would be happy to speak to groups about the topic. The book is available on Amazon here. - Ed.

Georgina Holloway

Trustee of PACT & High Sheriff of Norfolk 2011–12

I am so lucky to have been brought up as part of a very happy family and to have been married for 37 years with four wonderful children and grandchildren on the way. Last year I became involved with the charity, Partners Against Crime Taskforce, and became somewhat less na├»ve. I learnt that domestic abuse is widespread in every community, takes no account of race, age, wealth or workplace — indeed it seems that those who are in respected professions are often those who suffer more as they are embarrassed to admit that there is any problem, let alone talk about it. The statistics are horrifying — especially the number of children who become involved through absolutely no fault of their own.

We are lucky in Norfolk to have many agencies, working together to tackle the problem and to help victims and I am so pleased that the Church is taking this stand to help ‘Break the Silence’.

Natalie Collins

‘Restored’ Researcher & Communicator

It is so encouraging to see the Norwich Diocese doing such practical work to address domestic abuse. The Church globally has been known to perpetuate and collude with abuse and to see an entire Diocese committed to raising awareness and taking steps to bring about change is exciting. The Breaking the Silence website is an exceptional resource and the work that Adrian Miller, Cheryl Illingworth and their team are doing to provide resources, training and equipping for churches and individuals is inspiring and challenging. It is as each of us do all we can, in the spheres of influence that we have, that we will see women freed from abusive partners, men held accountable for their choice to abuse and children enabled to live healthy lives.

Cheryl Illingworth

Mother's Union Representative & Campaigner on DA issues

As a global organisation, the Mothers' Union is very actively campaigning against domestic violence and domestic abuse in families. This affects predominately women, but has a significant impact on children within the family and we must also not forget that there are male victims of domestic abuse.

It is very easy to convince ourselves that victims of domestic abuse and violence are not within our communities and parishes, but victims come from all classes of society, all socio-economic groups (including professionals), all religions, ethic groups and races. Also, an abuser often appears very respectable to the outside world, being a pillar of the community and the victim feels that they may not be believed and the abuse continues for years.

Please use the resources and links associated with the website to help victims and make a real difference to their lives and their families.

Rev Adrian Miller

Team Vicar, Tas Valley & ‘Breaking the Silence’ rep for Norwich Diocese

I am utterly convinced that the church has a major role to play in the undoing of domestic violence. The home was created by God to be a place of sanctuary and safety, and I know God is sad when he sees the home become something so different. It is such a betrayal. The church is well placed to offer pastoral support, to teach about these things, to challenge abusive thinking and behaviours, to signpost to other services, and so on.

For evil to prosper, it just takes good men to do nothing. We cannot afford to be silent on this issue, and we are doing all we can to break the silence that we may have held on this - and in that way to start a conversation wherein those experiencing abuse can also break their silence and find help and support.