Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is violence, abuse or intimidating behaviour by an adult against someone they have, or have had, a domestic relationship with, to control and dominate them. It can include (but is not limited to) intimidation, harassment, emotional/psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, stalking, social and geographical isolation, physical assault and sexual assault.
Domestic Relationship: A domestic relationship includes when one person is, or has been, married to; living in the same household as; or living as a long-term resident in the same residential facility at the same time as; another person. Children are included in this definition of a ‘domestic relationship’.
Domestic violence is contrary to the biblical vision of mutual love and care of each other in marriage, anchored in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the biblical vision of marriage as a place where children can feel and be safe and protected. It is also contrary to MST's Code of Conduct and the values of the College.
MST seeks to ensure that our homes are places of safety, encouragement and a generous treatment of each other. Domestic violence of any kind is inexcusable and is a violation of the love God expects to characterise the relationship between husbands and wives, and between parents and children. Domestic violence is a crime.
To protect and promote the safety and well-being of all in the Melbourne School of Theology (MST) community, and to ensure that appropriate help and support is provided to those affected by domestic violence.
This policy applies to all members of the MST community, including MST Board members, employees (including volunteers), students, as well as their spouses and children.
MST seeks to promote healthy and flourishing marriages and families within its community. Every person associated with the MST community has the right to expect to live in a safe and caring environment, free of domestic violence. Domestic violence, in any form, is never justified and will not be tolerated, overlooked or concealed by MST. It is against the standards of conduct and behaviour required of disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, MST’s Code of Conduct and the College’s expectations of its students. Furthermore, all forms of domestic violence are criminal acts in Victoria.
Where MST becomes aware of domestic violence within the college community, the victim(s) will be encouraged to seek appropriate help from the pastoral care channels that exist at MST, and/or from Christian counselling professionals with expertise in working with domestic violence. Where the domestic violence constitutes a criminal act, the victim(s) will be advised and supported to report the matter to the police.
If the alleged perpetrator is a student, they will be required to meet with the Vice-Principal (Community and Operations), and if the perpetrator is an MST employee they will be required to meet with the Principal and the Vice-Principal (Community and Operations). The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the appropriate course of action, which will involve the perpetrator giving cause why they should be allowed to continue as part of the MST community. They will be advised to seek professional help and support as necessary. This policy is to be included in the student handbooks and materials given to students at orientation, or employees during their induction into the MST community, and made available to all in the MST community through the Policy Portal.
The College will provide a list of Christian professionals with expertise in working with domestic violence and make it available to those who need it, as outlined above. Spouses of students and staff will also be notified of this policy and the list. This will provide an avenue for professional help outside the authority structures of MST, for those who seek it.
Those with pastoral oversight in the MST community are to be trained in recognising and responding to domestic violence. It is a priority of MST, wherever possible, to train our students to recognise and respond to domestic violence given that many of them will very likely have some kind of pastoral ministry upon graduation.
The Vice-Principal (Community and Operations) is responsible for ensuring that this policy is publicised throughout the MST community, and that the contact details for the professionals mentioned above remain current. The Vice-Principal (Community and Operations) is also responsible for coordinating the training mentioned above and ensuring that professional help is provided where necessary.