Victim Needs From a Faith-Based Perspective
The church should be a place of refuge, but often we have not known how to listen, how to be present to victims. We have told them that their anger is wrong, that they need to move on, to forgive, to forget. We have denied them their right to mourn and instead have laid new burdens on them. All this is understandable—as part of our effort to distance ourselves from pain and vulnerability—but not at all helpful.
—Howard Zehr, "Restoring Justice," God and the Victim, 1999
Victimization often makes orderly lives disorderly, thereby drawing victims into faith-based settings where they hope to find reasons for their pain. It is important that clergy who work with victims understand these unique emotional needs. Specifically, faith communities can help crime victims by—
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