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Working with People Who Abuse Their Intimate Partners

At Safe Havens, we are passionate about empowering faith leaders (both clergy and lay) and congregations to play their unique and critical role in supporting survivors of domestic violence in their families, congregations, and communities. It’s also important to remember, however, that our congregations include not only victims and survivors of abuse, but also people who perpetrate abuse. While our first priority must always be safety and support for survivors and their children, we bear responsibility to care for everyone in our congregations. This requires supporting those who abuse by holding them accountable for ending the abuse.

Responding to those who are controlling or abusive to their partners is not easy. The safety of the survivor and children remains our primary concern, but learning more about how and when to respond to those who abuse their intimate partners is an important first step toward accountability.

What Do Batterers Get Out of It

Developed by Chuck Derry at the Gender Violence Institute and adapted by Safe Havens, this document spells out what people (in this case, men) get out of abusing their partners.

Between Compassion and Accountability: Guidelines for Faith Leaders Responding to Those Who Abuse Intimate Partners

This resource is a collaboration between Safe Havens and Dr. David Adams, who is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on working with people who abuse as well as a person of faith. In Between Compassion and Accountability, Dr. Adams provides in-depth descriptions of the common traits and excuses of abusers, how to avoid being manipulated, how to recognize and promote stages of accountability for abusers, how these differ from superficial changes and “quick fixes”, and how to prioritize safety for the person experiencing the abuse. Abuse is a learned behavior and Between Compassion and Accountability explores how, by making the right treatment choice, people can unlearn those behaviors.



Compassion and Accountability for those in the Congregation who Abuse

Presented by Dr. David Adams

May 2021

This webinar series was designed for advocates and faith leaders (clergy and lay) to participate in together. This webinar focused on how to create safe congregations and have accountability for abusers in congregations.

To learn more about working with people who abuse, please reach out to our partners at Emerge You can also contact your community’s Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program or Certified Batterer’s Intervention Program.

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