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When Domestic Violence Knocks

How to minister wisely when it shows up in your congregation.

Do you ever get a bad feeling when the phone rings? As a domestic violence victim advocate for the City of Miami Beach Police Department, I got that feeling often.

"Lou, there's a lady down here who needs to see you."

It had become hauntingly easy for me to spot an abused woman in our busy department lobby. As I introduced myself to this visitor, she looked up at me sheepishly, and the bruises on her face spoke volumes.

Jackie (not her real name) came to our department seeking help with a domestic conflict. Her story was typical. She and her husband had gotten into a verbal altercation that escalated to physical violence. She'd called 911. Responding officers determined that he was the "primary aggressor," having struck Jackie with his fist and leaving visible bruises. Having probable cause, our officers arrested him for misdemeanor battery, and he was taken into custody immediately to await a hearing.

Before I could begin my usual inquiries, Jackie ...

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