Wednesday, 15 January 2014


VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY: (United Nations International Year of the Family 1994, Occasional Papers Series, Family and Crime No.3 1992)
        Prevention of domestic violence is of utmost importance. Recourse to physical force by parents on children and by spouses when dealing with each other promotes the use of violence outside the family.
        Verbal and emotional maltreatment and abuse can be as intimidating, demoralizing, damaging, troubling and terrorizing as physical abuse. Verbal insults and humiliations, repeated constantly in a young lifetime, are what socializes children into violence and sets them apart from the other youngsters who learn quite different lessons in their family and social interactions.
        Violence causes feelings of entrapment, degradation and humiliation. Self-blame is common to all victims of family violence. The deleterious effect of violence in the family underscores the need for effective preventive and treatment strategies. Once family interactions become dominated by violent processes, the situation is difficult to alter.
        However, numerous programmes around the world prove that families can be helped even in these situations. Activities of immediate protection and assistance include shelters, emergency telephones, self- help and governmental groups for battered women and children, and therapy programmes. For offenders, only limited therapeutic treatment is available.
        In some countries, self-help efforts have been the response to perceived police inactivity or insensitivity to the occurrence of domestic violence. Numerous countries have voluntary mutual defence groups. In one community, “habitant groups” take measures to prevent domestic violence from escalating by placing the victim with another family for a short period and disciplining the offender. “Neighbourhood watch” programmes and other community self-help programmes can effectively expose and intervene in maltreatment, diminishing the level of tolerance for it. The importance of providing immediate protection has been borne out by cross-cultural studies highlighting the readiness of kin and neighbours to intervene in violent or potentially violent situations in societies with non-violent child-rearing practices and relatively low incidences of wife battery.
        Special measures have been introduced to protect children from both domestic abuse and violence outside the home. Examples include neighbourhood car pools organized to drive children to and from school and extracurricular activities and the designation of certain homes in the neighbourhood with special decals as safe houses where a child in danger or fear may seek refuge and assistance.
        What complicates the prevention of violence is the fact that violence in the family is frequently influenced by broader cultural patterns. Research suggests that battery in the family is related to the general level of violence that exists in a particular society.

        Violence constitutes an abuse of power. It often emerges from the desire to dominate, degrade, subjugate, possess and control others. In the long run, the promotion of human rights, better education and the improvement of the status of women are needed, as well as a change of attitude towards domination, be it sexual or any other kind. Training individuals in the dynamics of successful family relationships includes the promotion of gender equality, equality in partnership between spouses and the teaching of coping skills. The starting- point is to strengthen the strong and well- functioning aspects of families.


Building a Culture of Peace
Edited by Dr. Catherine Bernard President and Director, Service and Research Institute on Family and Children and John J Shea Practice Pastoral Care and Counseling, School of Theology and Ministry
Nurturing Families around the World: Building a Culture of Peace aims to offer insight and tools to initiate the healing approach, so that the family finds a creative rebirth. This change in the structure of the family can initiate change within a larger community, a creative rebirth of the entire social community and neighborhood communities so that a new kind of connectedness, mutual caring, empathy and healing is nurtured and fostered.
This book offers profound insights into ways and means of resolving issues of violence and conflict around the world- we must start resolving it now and in this life. The main argument is that families and societies can be provided with the fertile field of a positive culture and civilization that respects diversity, human dignity and uniqueness.
Preface/Introduction Dr. Catherine Bernard/ Nurture- Key to the Security of the 21st Century Family Joan Haliburn/ Polishing the Jewels of Humanity: Sharing Responsibility for Children Victoria Wyszynski Thoresen/ Children’s Emotional Well-being in the Era of Globalization Sami Timimi/Intimacy: Stabilizing and Strengthening Family Life Beverly Musgrave/ The power of the Individual in Building a Culture of Peace John J Shea/ Future of the Family and the Family of the Future: The Unity-based Family and the Advent of a Civilization of Peace H B Danesh/ Index

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In Defence of the Family: Family, Children and Culture

This volume is a compilation of key papers presented at the global conference titled “In Defence of the Family: Family, Children and Culture,” held in Bangkok in June 2011. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children (SERFAC), headquartered in Chennai, India. SERFAC was established by Dr. Catherine Bernard, MBBS, MS, and collaborators from diverse backgrounds from India and around the world, committed to ensuring the well-being of families so as to address the contemporary moral, spiritual, institutional and technological crises affecting families, children, communities, nations and global society.
An internationally registered non-governmental organization, SERFAC, which enjoys Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC ( the Economic and Social Council) of the UN, works towards creating awareness and sensitizing society to the fact that a healthy family life and its allied institution of marriage constitute the most important resource base and natural environment for the well-being of its members, particularly children.
Families and children across the world face a multitude of ever-changing challenges in an increasingly internationalized culture due to globalization.
It is vital for society to respect the autonomy, integrity, solemnity and sacredness of every unborn child, of every person, individual and family, and for every nation to work towards a meeting at different levels. A dialogue must occur to enrich and celebrate this diversity of family, children and cultures, in order to make the world a more humane and civilized place in which to live. In this way, we can ensure a promising future for humanity.
The Service and Research Institute on Family and Children has made a start in this reversal process by identifying and working with the smallest, yet, at the same time, the most potent social unit- the Family.
Dr. Catherine Bernard, MBBS, MS, India, Founder- President-Director of the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children ( SERFAC), Chennai, India. Dr. Catherine Bernard belongs to Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, France. She is a Medical Doctor by profession and holds a post graduate degree in Religion and Religious Education from Fordham University, New York.
Dr. John Shea, PhD, MSW, USA: Former Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Care and Counseling, in the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College, Massachusetts, USA. He has over 30 years’ experience in the field of counseling. He is an international lecturer and speaker and has authored several books and numerous articles that focus on spirituality, experiencing and adulthood.
Both Dr. Bernard and Dr. Shea are contributing authors in this volume. The authors of the other papers contained in the book are all eminent and experienced professionals in their respective fields.

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