Laestadians and Domestic Violence

The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters in Oulu and the Conservative Laestadians are starting cooperation. According to the article in religious newspaper Kotimaa (4.2.2010), domestic violence in Laestadian families isn’t any more common than in non-religious families, but the problem has been the cultural differences. The aim of this cooperation is to collect information about working with tight communities like Conservative Laestadians and how the special characteristics in their culture affect the helping process.

For example, among non-religious people divorce might often be the solution in domestic violence cases. In Conservative Laestadian movement it isn’t that easy – marriage is meant to last for the lifetime and divorce isn’t considered as a solution. Members of the religious movement have also said that in domestic violence cases it is important to keep the family together and keep up the facade of happy family life.

As the article notes, asking for forgiveness or making a confession are not necessarily enough - in most cases earthly help and counselling are needed. The writer referred to a Conservative Laestadians newspaper Päämies (27.1.2010) in which the editorial stated, that after asking for forgiveness from God person should know in his or her heart what is the right thing to do. In these cases the worst case scenario is that people go on as usual without getting any help or not trying to change.

More information (in Finnish):

Oulun ensi- ja turvakoti

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