Event to focus on helping abuse victims

An April 25-26 conference in Seattle for church workers and others interested in helping children and spouses who have been victims of domestic abuse will concentrate on faith issues raised by domestic volence and abuse and strategies for addressing them.

The event, set for the Renaissance Hotel downtown, is sponsored by Lutheran Advocates for Safe Families (LASF) — a new network of Lutheran Services in America (LSA). 

This is the first annual conference of LASF, whose steering committee members include Barbara Below, director of Social Ministry Organizations with LCMS World Relief/Human Care.  The conference theme is “Creating Sanctuary.”

The LASF conference precedes this year’s LSA conference, April 26-28, also in Seattle.

“Despite the best efforts of child-protection systems, child fatalities remain a serious problem in the United States,” said Below, who added that child deaths from abuse or neglect are “difficult to track and may very well be underreported.”

She also pointed out that U.S Department of Justice statistics for 2003 show that 3.8 percent [or 205,265, by her calculations] of “crimes of victimization were [committed] by the spouse or former spouse of the victim.”

“Using a family-focused approach, this conference will address work with perpetrators, survivors, and their children, including the use of safe and effective pastoral-screening tools,” according to the Web site for the LASF conference.

Below also said that the “Creating Sanctuary” conference will point toward ways of “supporting the agencies that provide direct care to victims of violence in the home, [including] resources about safe havens, or places that assure protection and safety from harm.

“We are encouraging pastors, laypeople, teachers, and other church workers to attend this LASF conference to learn more about domestic violence and how the church can help,” Below told Reporter.

Registration for the “Creating Sanctuary” conference is $175 per participant, which covers conference materials and meals (except for two lunches).  Faxed and online registrations through the Web will be accepted until April 21.

Housing is available at a special conference rate of $149 per night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Seattle for those reserving rooms by April 11.  Call the hotel at (206) 464-1980 and mention the “LSA event.”
For more information, including details about registration and conference presenters, go to the LASF Web site at www.lutheransettlement.org/e-invitation.html.  For more information abut the LSA annual conference, visit the LSA Web site at www.lutheranservices.org and click on the photo of the Seattle Space Needle at the home page.

Posted March 21, 2006

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