The Samaritan Counseling Center’s mission begins and ends with people and our community.

Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence in the Congregation

Abuse by a partner impacts more women than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Many of these women are among our friends, families, and congregations. Although we typically think of domestic violence as being defined by battering, the emotional and psychological abuse characteristic of these relationships is often more devastating than broken bones and bruises. These victims carry wounds not readily visible.

Our educational and training sessions incorporate the practical and safety issues involved in helping a victim of abuse, as well as spiritual issues. We offer:

  • Training for parish nurses, Stephen Ministers and congregational care teams on identifying and responding to adult victims of domestic violence/sexual abuse within scope of your ministry
  • Training for clergy on pastoral care of victims and offenders (recommended for groups of clergy through ministeriums, councils, or judicatories)


Faith as a Resource: Responding to Domestic Violence
One in three women suffers abuse by an intimate partner during her lifetime. In this introductory session, participants learn to define domestic violence by its core dynamic of power and control, and consider how abusive behavior is unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant. We will identify some signs that might indicate abuse is occurring, and discuss how to approach someone we suspect is being hurt, incorporating the concept of good stewardship of our lives into our conversation with victims.

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
It is estimated that up to 10 million children are at risk of witnessing domestic violence each year in the United States. They are the indirect victims of domestic violence and are frequently traumatized by what they see and hear. They are also at much higher risk for being abused or neglected themselves. Tragically, children often are used by abusive partners as tactics to manipulate the victim. In this one-hour workshop, participants learn about the dynamic of power and control that lies at the core of domestic violence and how children are impacted. We will also discuss safety planning for women with children who have current or former relationships with abusive partners.

Why Doesn’t She (or He) Just Leave? Learn How to Answer this Very Common Question
This session addresses the barriers victims face in leaving a violent relationship. It provides information about the cycle of violence that commonly occurs in abusive relationships to help us better understand why victims stay with – or return to- an abusive partner. Through an interactive exercise, we’ll learn about the typical responses victims receive from friends, clergy, physicians and others when they reach out for help.

For more information, contact Linda Crockett, Director of Clergy & Congregation Care, at 717.560.9991 or email Linda

SafeChurch Focus

Building. . .

a faith-based movement to end Child Sexual Abuse

Moving. . .

beyond first generation “safe church policies and training” to shifting culture to inspire and equip adults to protect children from sexual harm in church and community

Connecting. . .

with others sharing a vision where people of faith take leadership to end the conditions that allow one in four girls and one in six boys to be sexually abused

Engaging. . .

survivors as sources of wisdom and leaders

Partnering. . .

with the Just Beginnings Collaborative to End Child Sexual Abuse