5 copy price £5.75
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Tragically, the police receive a call about domestic abuse every minute. This is a hidden and terrifying phenomenon, sadly prevalent in churches as well as the wider community. Spouses, partners, parents and (older) children are the perpetrators. The aim is to bring victims to a place of freedom, peace and hope. There is a way out and they can find real hope in Christ.
In this short book - which whilst easy to read in one sense, will leave you crying out, "How long O Lord?" - Helen Thorne provides a starting point to helping people within (and around) our church communities who are suffering from domestic abuse. The book contains an appropriate amount of hearing from victims, with helpful theological truths applied, and direct, practical, British advice given to help supporters care for the abused and to stop the cycle of abuse. I particularly appreciated some of the pop-out sections in the book covering topics such as, "How to start a conversation if I suspect domestic abuse?" or "Responding to disclosure" or "Can the church liaise with statutory agencies?" The book is exceedingly practical but never moves away from the fact that God can and does act to change people, to call sinners to repentance, to offer hope to the hopeless, and to bring all who call upon him into his eternal rest. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And eagerly await further volumes in this new series of books from Biblical Counseling UK and IVP. This is an astonishingly good book and should be essential reading for anyone who is involved in pastoral care in church life from small-group leaders through to ministers.
A sadly essential book - the author expertly takes us through the basics of domestic abuse and how those involved in pastoral care should respond. Of particular value were the excerpts from real stories, which added depth to the book. Especially poignant was the account from one victim of the hopelessness she felt - psalm 88 was used to great effect here. That is where churches can provide something unique that statutory agencies and secular charities cannot - a true hope. To that end the author pointed us toward a 'bigger God'. There was no glossing over the realities of domestic abuse, and the fact is perpetrators can go to the very depths of human behaviour to maintain power and control over the victims. There was good practical guidance in terms of safety planning and long term support. The impact on children was mentioned, but there could have been more detail in this area. Domestic abuse is one of the most damaging and harmful things a child can experience with long lasting effects in many areas, and in many ways they have it the worst of all, because they cannot choose to leave the abusive situation. Divorce was briefly discussed, but I feel the author could have gone further. It might go against the instincts of a church, but divorce should be actively encouraged if the abuser is not repentant. This is particularly true if children are involved. Statutory agencies highest responsibility is to the welfare of the child, and if the victim (usually a woman) is the main carer of the children she may be put in a situation where she is forced to choose between her children or the abuser. In that instance, a church should never counsel a victim to stay in the relationship and they should be actively supporting her to end it, even if that does mean divorce. Helen Thorne has written a valuable and insightful book which should be required reading for all involved in pastoral care.
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