YWAM Sydney Newtown has a zero tolerance stance on all forms of abuse

YWAM Sydney Newtown has a zero tolerance stance on all forms of abuse

The team at YWAM Sydney Newtown echo this statement from Common Grace:


“In Australia one in three women experience physical violence in their lifetime. One in six Australian women experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and one in four experience emotional abuse from a partner. . .These statistics mean that within churches there are both victims and perpetrators. How the church and Christians respond to them is crucial in seeing justice, healing and transformation. 


“In some cases, churches have responded to domestic and family violence in wonderfully supportive ways for victims. However sadly there have been countless times when the church has let women and children down, and sometimes put them even more at risk through disbelief, minimising the victim’s experience, or staying silent. This inadequate response must not continue.


“Jesus always protects the vulnerable and exposes evil. We want to follow the example of Jesus: our model for equal, loving, and mutual human relationships. . . We recognise that gender inequality lies at the heart of domestic & family violence. That violent attitudes and behaviours have their root in the same place – the abuse of power and control of one person over another.” (Source: Slightly modified from Common Grace)



Women’s safety identified as national crisis


This week the Australian Commonwealth Government set out a new budget allocating large amounts to important community services including mental health, aged care, and support for women and children. Notably, $1.1 billion dollars has been allocated to a women’s safety package to help provide key services for women and girls including a major emphasis on gender-based violence and domestic and family violence in particular (also known as DFV), as well as critical services for Indigenous women and girls.


While we are non-partisan in regard to specific policies and legislation, these particular national issues are important to us as we work together with our neighbours to ensure flourishing in our community. The team at YWAM Sydney Newtown cares deeply for the well-being of women and children and we have noted the Government’s identification of gender-based violence as an urgent crisis to address within Australia. 



We condemn all forms of gender-based violence


As a local ministry team YWAM Sydney Newtown strongly condemns all forms of gender-based violence and we are committed to best practices in our policies and procedures (including being a part of the National Redress Scheme). Likewise, we are on a personal learning journey as a team to enhance our understanding of these issues so that we can best care for our own students, staff, and neighbours well. 


Further, the team at YWAM Sydney Newtown recognises the unique overlap with issues of DFV (and other forms of gender-based violence) and safeguarding those within our religious institutions and communities. We are committed to upskill ourselves accordingly and seek support where issues extend beyond our own level of training and expertise or scope of ministry. We believe both an evidence-based approach to learning is necessary as well as a lived theology modeled after Jesus and the ways in which he protected and cared for children, women, and the most vulnerable among us as recorded in the Gospels.



Youth With A Mission (YWAM) network of ministries


While we cannot speak on behalf of other locations in the YWAM network of ministries (due to the nature of our decentralised legal and governing structures), our experience has been that we have witnessed sustained passion and growth in this area over the years as we all learn to both identify and support victims better in adherence with Australian standards, international human rights standards, as well as our own Christian beliefs that compel us to care for vulnerable people. Some of the core values of Youth With A Mission that local YWAM ministries share include our commitment to valuing individuals and families. We take these issues very seriously.



Resources for continued learning


If you’d like to learn more about gender-based violence, here are some of the resources our team has, and will continue to, learn from:


Recommended book


We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis by Mary Demuth



Common Grace series on DFV


Part 1: We all unwittingly partner in the violence
Erica Hamence explores five ways churches unwittingly partner in violence and calls us to be aware, teachable and ready to listen to those facing abuse.


Part 2: The characteristics of spiritual abuse
Have you ever wondered what does spiritual abuse look like? Erica Hamence names some of the typical ways bible texts, doctrines and church life can be manipulated for violence.


Part 3: What can we do?
Erica Hamence presents 14 things your church can do to address domestic & family violence and to create a space for victims to approach you for help.



Safe Ministry – Sydney Anglican Diocese 


www.safeministry.org.au (includes free training course for clergy and lay ministers)





SAFER is an online tool designed by Common Grace to help the Australian Christian community keep victims of domestic and family violence safe. SAFER offers practical ways to help victims plan for safety and help perpetrators face their personal responsibility for their abuse. SAFER is an evidence-based resource, created in consultation with experts in family violence, social work, mental health and Christian ministry. https://www.saferresource.org.au/abuser_friendly_church_cultures





https://www.1800respect.org.auNational sexual assault and family violence counselling service. (Includes 24/7 hotline and chat.) Resources specific to New South Wales can be found here.



White Ribbon


Preventing violence against women: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au 



Hillsong City Care

Including programs for women such as: Shine, Homes of Peace, and support for DFV. See City Care Women.



Additional resources complied by the National Council of Australian Churches (see their full list here):



Articles published by the ABC


Julia Baird; Domestic Violence in the Church: When women are believed change will happen

How can the Church do better by Domestic Violence victims



Creative Spirits


Information on Domestic Family Violence for Aboriginal people 



A Just Cause & Baptist Care


A Just Cause: No Place for Violence Here: Church Training and Resources 



CBE International


30 Strategies for Fighting Abuse in the ChurchNational Anglican Family Safety Study

A research project into the nature and prevalence of family violence in faith communities – pdf



Uniting Church in Australia


UnitingWorld, Gender Justice



Salvation Army


Family and Domestic Violence resources

Safe from the Start Information sheet (PDF)



The Lutheran Church of Australia


Hidden Hurts, Healing Hearts

Video: Interview with Angela Mayer of the Lutheran Church on how to support a friend or loved one experiencing Domestic Family Violence 



House of Sarah


Fijian Faith Leaders saying “No” to Rape and “No” to Violence Against Women and Children (Supported by UN Women, Australian Aid and the European Union) http://houseofsarah.org/my-front-page

Adriel Booker

Adriel Booker is a writer, speaker, and mentor with a passion to help people connect with Jesus, find their place in the world, and usher in the Kingdom. Adriel and her husband co-lead YWAM Sydney Newtown and—together with their three children—they enjoy cultivating community in their beautiful city by the sea. She also leads the Love A Mama Collective, serving women in the developing world through maternal health initiatives. Adriel's latest book is Grace Like Scarlett and she can be found writing regularly at www.adrielbooker.com.
Adriel Booker
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