Safe in Faith, a Caritas Westminster project, providing faith-based support to victims of domestic abuse, was recognised in the London Faith & Belief Community Awards in November 2023.
The project was presented with the award in the Health & Wellbeing category, which recognises projects that create specialised services for the health and wellbeing of Londoners.
Accepting the award were Nikki Dhillon Keane (pictured, right), Head of Safe in Faith, and Esther Sweetman (pictured, left), Partnership Manager at Restored, a partner organisation that provides faith-based counselling.
Safe in Faith supports survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and exploitation in ways that understand how their faith impacts their experiences. Although it is a Catholic organisation, it provides support and counselling to anyone who would benefit from a faith informed approach.
Expressing his delight at the award, Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster and Lead Bishop for Life Issues at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: ‘This is a significant recognition of the importance of a faith formed support for victims/survivors of domestic abuse and gender-based violence (GBV).
‘Congratulations to Nikki Dhillon Keane of Caritas Westminster whose dedication and persistence have led to the development of this programme. Nikki has contributed to the Domestic Abuse Working Group of the Bishops’ Conference in the past and now develops this work in coordination with CSAN (Catholic Social Action Network).’
Safe in Faith provides training for clergy, religious sisters and pastoral workers to understand domestic abuse in the context of religious faith; how faith can be a support but also at times a barrier to safety. The training equips faith leaders to provide trauma-informed and knowledgeable support and signposting to help victims/survivors access the support they need.
Safe in Faith also has an interfaith network of counsellors and psychotherapists working at the intersection of domestic abuse, gender-based violence and faith. The project provides free and low-cost training for practitioners in working with abuse and trauma in the context of faith and spirituality.
For more information on the project, visit the Safe in Faith website.
Photo: Esther Sweetman and Nikki Dhillon Keane (credit: Faith & Belief Forum)