Baptist Union adopts zero-tolerance approach to gender-based violence

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THE Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) says it has adopted a zero-tolerance stance towards gender-based violence “in any and every form”.

In a resolution passed at its 169th General Assembly recently, the JBU agreed to:

1. Establish a clear denominational policy on gender-based violence as an affirmation of the equality and the dignity of all human beings.

2. Promote gender sensitisation education for congregants, including specific focus on the contributing factors to gender-based violence. This should be undertaken with urgency during our current focus on “partnership”, using existing material that will raise awareness and encourage congregations to lead in the national response.

3. Provide training for pastors and other pastoral workers in updated counselling/helping methods and modalities, which include raising awareness about, deepening sensitivity to and instituting protection against approaches and practices that wittingly or unwittingly foster perpetuating harm to those we serve as agents of God’s Church.

4. Establish and highlight safe spaces in our churches for the holistic delivery of curative and preventative services that seek to address the needs of both those who are victims of and vulnerable to gender-based violence.

5. Engage in specific initiatives and foster a culture of partnership with Government and NGO’s to participate in and contribute to national programs aimed at addressing gender-based violence.

6. Encourage the adoption of the World Council of Churches Thursdays In Black campaign, in congregations islandwide, to give visible support to victims and show solidarity against gender-based violence, as an expression of partnership.

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