Back to All Events

Domestic Violence & Religion: Supporting Survivors of Faith

Survivors and families of faith who experience domestic violence have unique challenges and opportunities in seeking guidance and support. To best serve these marginalized survivors, advocates can benefit from deepening their understanding of this population. This webinar presents a panel of experts from Muslim, Catholic and Jewish faiths to share ways that faith serves as a resource and a barrier for seeking help and strategies for engaging with faith leadership.

After this training, participants will be better able to:

  • Understand some of the ways faith impacts victims and survivors of domestic violence
  • Identify barriers for women of faith to,acknowledge violence within her relationship and seeking help
  • Address these barriers in culturally appropriate ways  
  • Develop a strategy to engage faith leadership as allies


Free for members / $25 for non-members


Deborah Rosenbloom, JD/MPA is JWI’s Vice President of Programs & New Initiatives, responsible for directing and implementing JWI’s programmatic work to end and prevent gender based violence.  Her expertise includes engaging with faith communities,  empowering male allies, and advocating for anti-violence legislation. Deborah’s work with faith communities includes serving as project director of JWI's 2013 OVW grant to engage an ultra-orthodox Jewish community as allies, staffing JWI’s Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, overseeing the Interfaith Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Abuse, and as a steering committee member of WeWillSpeakOut US.  She is a co-author and editor of several faith related publications including Embracing JusticeA Guide for Jewish Clergy on Domestic Abuse; the Rethinking Guide series: Women, Relationships and Jewish Texts; and Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. An experienced trainer, Deborah frequently leads workshops on engaging faith leaders as allies. Her international work includes workshops on domestic and dating abuse for over 1,000 clergy, lay leaders and community members in Sydney, Australia. She is currently co-chairing the youth/prevention subcommittee for the 2018 VAWA reauthorization. Deborah attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and holds a BA cum laude from Cornell University, and a JD and MPA from Syracuse University.

Sharon O’Brien, Ph.D. is Director of Catholics For Family Peace Education and Research Initiative in the National Catholic School of Social Service’s Consortium for Catholic Social Teaching at The Catholic University of America. The mission of the Initiative is to educate the Catholic community about domestic abuse and to conduct research on the issue. Her doctoral work was recognized by the International Family Violence Research Conference. She earned her M.A. in Adult Education from The George Washington University.  O’Brien is an educator, author, and international presenter on the issue of faith communities' response to domestic abuse. Dr. O’Brien was a founding member and President of the Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence (2004 – 2013), a founding member of the Peaceful Families Project (2007 - 2013); and served on Maryland’s Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition of Maryland (2013 - 2015).  Sharon continues to serve on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) and is an active member of the National Council of Catholic Women for which she co-authored Healing the Wounds: A Resource Manual to Prevent Domestic Abuse. Previous work includes service as Sr. Management Training Specialist at The George Washington University and Medical Center and as the Parent Education Program Director for a mental health program.

Salma Elkadi Abugideiri MEd, LPC is a founding board member of the Peaceful Families Project, an organization dedicated to educating Muslim community leaders and members about domestic violence. Salma provides educational workshops and develops resources related to mental health issues and domestic violence among Muslims, as well as workshops on healthy relationships. She is a contributing author to several books including Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues & Interventions, and Change from Within: Diverse Perspectives on Domestic Violence in Muslim Communities. She has co-authored a brief guide for helping professionals entitled What Islam Says About Domestic Violence. She has also co-authored Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples.Salma is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in northern Virginia. She provides individual and family therapy for a wide range of mental health and relationship issues. She has worked extensively with Middle Eastern and Muslim families.

Earlier Event: October 16
Pumpkins for Pediatrics
Later Event: October 22