All-Ukrainian Council of Churches to develop cooperation in countering domestic violence
Heads and plenipotentiaries of various faiths gathered in Kyiv on January 27, 2021, to summarize the results of cooperation over the past year in the framework of the project "Stop Violence!", as well as outline Current Directions for further joint activities, according to the Institute of Religious Freedom.
Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Larisa Galadza was invited to discuss this topic. It was with the support of the Canadian Foundation for local initiatives that during July 2020 – January 2021, the Institute for religious freedom, with the participation of the AUCCRO, implemented the project "Combating domestic violence in Ukraine during the COVID-19 pandemic by attracting the influence of religious leaders and the capability of Churches".
This interfaith project had a strategic goal – to establish dialogue, mutual understanding and interaction between religious communities of different faiths, public activists and authorities for more effective prevention and counteraction to domestic violence.
Metropolitan Epifaniy, Chairman of the AUCCRO, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, noted that it is especially important that the joint developments of Churches in the field of preventing and countering domestic violence reach the local level – to parish priests, local church departments for family affairs and social service. Therefore, according to him, there is still a lot of joint work ahead in this area.
According to the IRS report, churches and religious organizations have been paying attention to the problem of domestic violence in their own way for several years. Still, thanks to this project, representatives of different faiths can plan joint events, cooperate, exchange experience and educational materials.
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Sviatoslav stressed that from a pastoral point of view, the problem of domestic violence is severe, which churches should not turn a blind eye to.
"Countering domestic violence is a real step to protect the institution of the family. It is important for us to create a climate of inadmissibility of violence in local religious communities, because thanks to such educational work, we save the family," the head of the UGCC believes.
Oleksandr Zayats, chairman of the board of the Institute for Religious Freedom, Project Manager, informed the heads of Churches and religious organizations present at the meeting of the AUCCRO about the communication strategy developed by the Interfaith working group.
He believes that this interfaith initiative should not stop there. We should look for opportunities to continue working in the field of countering domestic violence: in particular, to develop the Interfaith Website "Stop the violence" (family.org.ua) and develop methodological materials for pastors and priests.
In December 2020, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations published an Appeal on the need to counteract domestic violence in Ukraine.
In addition, the heads of various faiths addressed the public with separate video messages in which they called on Ukrainian families to abandon violence in relations between spouses, during the upbringing of children and in relation to elderly parents.