Violence and Crime

Domestic Violence

The home should be a place of safety, caring, and security where family members can count on mutual love and respect. Sadly, for many West Virginians, home is a place of violence and fear.

Domestic violence crosses all lines of race, religion, economic status, and age. Defenseless children, ill or weakened elderly persons, and spouses are abused by family members taking advantage of their superior strength. And while there are indeed some cases in which a man suffers from domestic abuse, it is by far most common for a male to abuse a female family member.

Domestic violence creates tragedy for multiple generations. Studies have repeatedly shown that children who see or hear a parent being abused suffer profound effects. In the case of male children, such experience can lead to becoming another abuser. The recent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study showed that being in an abusive family can be linked to a number of future health risks and socialization problems for children.

Principles for Action
"The Catholic Church teaches that violence against another person in any form fails to treat that person as someone worthy of love. Instead, it treats the person as an object to be used. When violence occurs within a sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises." USCCB, When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, 1992

"Sometimes our local communities are devastated from the outside, but sometimes they are also devastated from the inside - in the very soul. Perhaps the worst internal devastation of local families and communities comes from domestic violence. This is not simply an Appalachian problem, but a problem of the whole world." Appalachian Bishops, At Home in the Web of Life, 1995

We support policies that would:

  • Provide shelters and social programs to ensure the safety of victims of abuse
  • Enforce protective court orders related to victims of abuse
  • Demand accountability from abusers
  • Provide counseling and treatment for both abusers and abused
  • Educate the public on the seriousness of this issue and its long-term effects