LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Ireland’s bishops are calling on the island’s parishes, schools and Catholic communities to help those suffering from domestic abuse.

“Knowing what to look for and spotting the signs means that, individually and collectively, we can make a real difference to people’s lives,” the bishops said in their annual Day for Life message, which is on the “Scourge of Domestic Abuse.”

“It is a deeply regrettable fact that men, women and children suffer domestic abuse at the hands of husbands, wives, parents and other family members. Violence of this kind should never be tolerated or justified. It is an offence against the dignity of the human person,” the Oct. 6 statement said.

“One in four women and about one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. According to a 2018 report, almost nine out of every ten women murdered in Ireland are killed by a man known to them. This fatal violence is at the most severe end of the spectrum of domestic abuse. Women’s Aid says that the dangerous patterns present in abusive relationships are all too often dismissed and not taken seriously, which can put women at risk of serious assault or homicide,” the bishops continued.

The bishops called on Catholic organizations to “reflect, learn and act together, so that we can help those suffering from domestic abuse in our parishes, our workplaces and even in our own homes.”

“Knowing what to look for and spotting the signs means that, individually and collectively, we can make a real difference to people’s lives,” their statement said.

In his Day of Life homily, Armagh Auxiliary Bishop Michael Router said violence of any kind “should never be tolerated or justified,” calling it “an offence against the dignity of the human person.”

“Domestic violence and abuse, particularly against women and children, has, unfortunately, been an ever-present factor in human relationships over the centuries. However domestic abuse remains as a very serious problem in our contemporary society and is a hidden form of toxic behavior in some families throughout the world,” the bishop said.

“In recent years we have experienced a number of terrible cases of domestic abuse in our own country leading to extreme violence and murder. Such awful events remind us of what can happen if subtle abuse and manipulation of a spouse is allowed to fester and grow into something sinister and threatening,” he continued.

The annual ‘Day for Life’ is observed every year in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and puts a spotlight on issues affecting the sanctity and dignity of human life.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome

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