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Hearts and Hands

Rural Communities Responding to Sexual and Domestic Violence

Faith is a fundamental pillar of identity and community for many rural Americans. When faced with sexual or domestic violence, rural survivors often understand these traumas through their faith and seek help from people they trust in their faith communities. In addition, access to community services can be particularly challenging in rural communities. Safe Havens provides training, resources, and technical assistance to help build a network of support for rural victims.

Resources for Rural Advocates & Faith Leaders

Since 2009, the Office on Violence Against Women has funded our development of Hearts and Hands: Piecing Together Faith and Safety for Rural Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence. These resources can:


  • help rural advocates reach out to faith leaders and faith communities,

  • help faith leaders support victims in their congregations, and

  • help advocates and faith leaders build partnerships to support victims together.

Praying Hands

These resources for rural faith leaders and communities can help you promote awareness about sexual and domestic violence, mobilize your congregation, and help victims reach safety.

For Faith Leaders and Communities

For Advocates and Service Providers

Woman Working

Learn about the Hearts and Hands project! If you are a rural advocate, you already know that faith is a critical resource in rural communities for survivors of domestic violence. Safe Havens is here to help you begin faith-based community outreach and partnership building!

Hearts and Hands: Rural Partnership Guide

If you are looking to build long-term, trusting partnerships between you and your rural faith leaders, our Rural Partnership Guide:  Building Partnerships Between Rural Service Providers and Faith Communities to Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims and Survivors, developed in 2013, will help guide you.

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Hearts and Hands: Training Model

Building Partnerships with Faith Leaders to Support

Rural Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence

This training model includes 10 interactive training exercises. The goal of these exercises is to help faith leaders better understand trauma, power and control, victim-centered responses, and other issues that will help them support victims and provide referrals to services.

Download our rural community resources available in black and white for printing here.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-KO45, 2011-TA-AX-K107, and 2014-TA-AX-K108, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.  The opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in these publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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