African Americans are often revictimized by service providers because of negative stereotypes and a lack of cultural understanding (Allard, 1991; Hampton & Gelles, 1994; Joseph, 1997; Kupenda, 1998; Richie, 1996; Wyatt, 1997). In this article, I will discuss how to apply cultural competence through an African-cen- tered approach to domestic violence and provide implications for practice with African American families.

The Need for a Culturally Competent Approach

The  ability  to  engage diverse populations according to  cul- tural nuances and understandings can result in more relevant solutions and successful outcomes (Fong & Furuto, 2001;  Green,  1999).  Without a   culturally competent approach,  practitioners  often  create  misinformed  assessments, ineffective interventions, and faulty evaluations (Bent- Goodley, 2005). The African-centered or Afrocentric approach provides a culturally competent alternative to respond to domestic violence in the African American family. Williams (1992, 1999) stressed that the lack of a cultur- ally  competent  approach  in  batterers’  intervention  pro- grams has resulted in low participation and completion rates for African American men. African American men often question the credibility and capability of non–African American practitioners to address their issues. Williams (1999) stated that practitioners must have (a) knowledge of themselves and their culture; (b) knowledge of the history, strengths, and challenges of African American families; and (c) the ability to engage the com- munity to sustain advances in the family. Finally, the prac- titioner must also be cognizant of and prepared to address issues of social justice and oppression.

Gondolf and Williams (2001) asserted the need for cultur- ally focused counseling, defined as “specialized counseling for racially homogenous groups that explicitly identifies and addresses cultural issues that may reinforce violence or pre- vent barriers to stopping violence” (p. 284). They provided specific recommendations as to how to engage African American men who batter from a culturally competent per- spective by exploring, for example, issues of discrimination, experiences with violence, and past relationships with women. 
Full story...

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone

who loves is begotten by God and knows God.


Digging through the girl’s old social media accounts, Heid came across a phone number on Facebook. It had been out-of-service for months, but running that number through Google he saw that it was associated with an outdated ad under “escorts” on—the Craigslist-like website of choice in the sex trade. Reaching out to administrators at Backpage (a notorious operation that has collaborated with police, at least in part, to protect itself from allegations of abetting prostitution and trafficking), Heid learned that the purchaser of that seven-month-old ad
—who wasn’t Wendy—was linked to another, more recent Backpage
​ad, which was advertising a girl-for-hire in College Park.  Full story...

The Samaritan Women is a national Christian organization providing restorative care to survivors, and bringing about an end to domestic human trafficking through awareness, prevention, and advocacy. 

Psalm 146:6-7

The maker of heaven and earth,

the seas and all that is in them,
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed...

Identify a Victim of Human Trafficking

Everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking. Recognizing the signs of human trafficking is the first step to identifying a victim. Our resources page has materials for a more in-depth human trafficking education and a catalog of materials that can be distributed and displayed in your community.

Do not at any time attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Your safety as well as the victim’s safety is paramount.  Instead, please contact local law enforcement directly or call the tip lines indicated on this page:

Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The Tip Line is accessible outside the United States by calling 802-872-6199. Submit a tip at  Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking.

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). The NHTH can help connect victims with service providers in the area and provides training, technical assistance, and other resources. The NHTH is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTH is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government.

By identifying victims and reporting tips, you are doing your part to help law enforcement rescue victims, and you might save a life. Law enforcement can connect victims to services such as medical and mental health care, shelter, job training, and legal assistance that restore their freedom and dignity. The presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.

Learn more about HSI investigations and the victims HSI has assisted from the ICE Newsroom.


Matthew 28:19-20
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

Healing Ministry

Jeremiah 33:6
Look! I am bringing the city recovery and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them an abundance of lasting peace.

Domestic violence 'code of silence' contributes to prevalence across races, classes

WASHINGTON — L.Y. Marlow remembers the night two years ago like it was last night.

Her daughter called screaming that her boyfriend was "busting her head against the bathtub,” said Marlow. “‘Mom, he’s going to kill me!'" And then, the phone went dead.”
Her daughter lived, but it was only the latest violent assault the five generations of women in Marlow’s family had endured.

The recent domestic violence news involving now-former White House aides thrust abuse back into the spotlight. This time, however, Marlow is determined it won't fade away as it has in the decade since she founded the non-profit, Saving Promise. 

One in three women experience domestic or dating violence in their lifetimes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the vast majority of the victims are women harmed by men.

The numbers show no sign of abating despite advances including the domestic violence screenings required covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) along with considerable research on the impact exposure to domestic violence has on children’s overall health and how it increases the chance they will become victims or perpetrators.

In 2013, about a quarter of women ages 18-44 said a doctor or other health care provider had talked to them about domestic violence in the previous three years, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey. A preliminary analysis of the 2017 Kaiser Women’s Health survey shows the numbers have barely budged since 2013, which means rates "fall far short" of recommended screening levels for women of reproductive age, says Alina Salganicoff, KFF's vice president for women's health policy. Full story...

Acts 17:26

He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions...

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation (National Institute of Justice: ​

Our Christian Identity
     To understand more fully how to defend and protect human life, we must first consider who we are, at the deepest level. God creates us in his image and likeness, which means we are made to be in loving relationship with him. The essence of our identity and worth, the source of our dignity, is that we are loved by God: "We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son."[1]
     We are called to divine intimacy, true communion with God, and we can grow in this closeness with him through daily prayer, reading the Scriptures, and frequent participation in the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. 

Our Mission as Christians
     The knowledge and realization of how deeply we are loved by God elicits a response of love that simultaneously draws us closer to God and, at the same time, impels us to share his love with others.
     Embracing a relationship with God means following in his footsteps, wherever he may call. Just as Jesus invited St. Peter and St. Andrew to become his disciples, he invites us to do the same: "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).
     Being a disciple of Jesus naturally includes sharing the Gospel with others and inviting them into a deeper relationship with God. As Christians, our identity and our mission are two sides of the same coin; like the apostles, we are called to be missionary disciples. 

Missionary Discipleship
     This doesn't necessarily mean quitting our jobs or moving to foreign countries. For most of us, our mission field is daily life: "Christ teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness: namely, through love. A Christian life lived with charity and faith is the most effective form of evangelization."[2]
     The first step towards living this life is allowing Jesus to meet and transform us daily. If we respond to his grace, our lives will show we have something beyond what the world offers: we follow a person whose love changes our lives, so we want others to also experience his transforming love.
     When we live in union with God, open to his prompting, we're more able to see the opportunities for witness and his guidance in responding to these opportunities. We may fear doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing, but we do not need to be afraid. Jesus promised his disciples, "I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). 

Identity Crisis
     As a society and as individuals, we often measure ourselves by false standards: by what and how much we do, our successes or failures, how others treat us, the degree of our pleasure or independence, etc. And when these changeable substitutes prove to be insufficient, or when we are faced with challenges and suffering, we may feel helpless, alone, or abandoned; we may be tempted to feel as though our lives have decreased value or worth.
     But God's love—individual, real, unchanging—is the true source of our worth, identity, and dignity. It really is not a question of who we are, but rather whose we are. Because his love will never change, nothing can reduce our God-given dignity, and nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives. 

Our Response
     When someone is facing great trials, we need to meet them where they are, walk with them on their journey, intercede for them, and be open to sharing Christ's love however he directs.
     When a woman becomes pregnant, and her boyfriend threatens to leave if she continues the pregnancy, we need to lovingly walk with her. When family members or friends become seriously ill, we need to assure them that God still offers them something in this life, and they still have purpose. We need to consistently be with them every step of the way.
     Sometimes our actions speak for themselves; other times, words are needed. Whatever the situation, Jesus knows how to speak to each person's heart; we simply need to follow where he leads.

A Culture of Life
     This is how we answer our missionary call. This is how we build a culture of life, a culture that joyfully proclaims the truth of God's love, purpose, and plan for each person. Changing the culture is a process of conversion that begins in our own hearts and includes a willingness to be instructed and a desire to be close to Jesus—the source of joy and love.
     When we encounter Christ, experience his love, and deepen our relationship with him, we become more aware of our own worth and that of others. His love for each person is cause for great joy, and growing understanding of this priceless treasure motivates us to share his love with others. Our lives are often changed by the witness of others; so too, others' lives may be changed by our witness and authentic friendship with them.
     Let us go, therefore, and not be afraid. God is always with us.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other.

MYTH: Domestic violence is a personal problem between a husband and a wife.

TRUTH: Domestic violence affects everyone. 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. 

Human Trafficking

The National Black Catholic Congress | 320 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201 | 410-547-8496
© 2020 The National Black Catholic Congress, All Rights Reserved

Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is  the foundation of a moral vision for society. 

Prison Ministry

Signs of Human Trafficking:

The person in question:

  • Is not free to come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Provides commercial sex acts and has a pimp
  • Is unpaid, paid little, or paid only in tips
  • Works excessively long or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises
  • High security measures exist in the work site
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Lacks health care
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical/sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
  • Has few or no possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her money, identification documents
  • ​Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves

​To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).

National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474

National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp   

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

National Sexual Assault Hotline  1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)

National Center for Victims of Crime  1-202-467-8700

Children of the Night

Sex trafficking is Maryland’s dirty open secret.

By Ron Cassie - March 2017

It was not the first time “Wendy” had run away and not come home. The quiet 15-year-old from Prince William County, Virginia, chafed under the strict control of her single mom. She had lived previously in Maryland and had friends in Washington, D.C., who would help her get by for short periods.

Melvin Douglas approached her as a friend, too—a potential boyfriend even. She’d met him twice before, briefly, a few weeks earlier on the streets of D.C. The third time that the 31-year-old Douglas spotted her, they talked more. He offered to buy her a meal and a place to stay. He paid to get her nails and hair done, made her feel special, and told her that he cared about her.

Ten months later, in early 2012, Wendy’s photograph popped up on Cpl. Chris Heid’s computer. She was still missing. Heid had just begun working with the Maryland State Police’s Child Recovery Unit. “She looked like any schoolgirl,” he says of the image of Wendy distributed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He asked the Prince William Police Department if they minded if he looked into the case.

I Corinthians 10:4

...[A]ll drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ.

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity

The longing for happiness, deeply rooted in the human heart, has always been accompanied by a desire to be freed from illness...

Yozefu-B. Ssemakulapresents The Healing of Families Ministry

​Catholic Healing Prayers

An African-Centered Approach to Domestic Violence
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley

The Samaritan Women: How Can I Help?

Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery

From the USCCB Pro-Life Document, "How To Build A Culture Of Life"

Domestic  violence  impacts  people  across  race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. No group class, can claim immunity from this problem, which is universal in scope. Domestic violence can be defined as “a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners” (Schechter & Ganley, 1995, p. 10). Although both men and women are abused, 85% to 95% of survivors are women (Rennison, 2003; Tjaden &Thoennes, 2000). Reported estimates suggest that over 5 million women expe- rience domestic violence annually (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control,  2003).

Domestic violence has been described as more prevalent among African American and American Indian families (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). The accuracy of this assertion is questionable because of methodological shortcomings, low numbers of people of color in domestic violence research, and difficulty getting people of color to seek assistance from formal authorities (Asbury, 1993; D. W.  Campbell, 1993; Hampton, Carrillo, & Kim, 1998; Hampton, Gelles, & Harrop, 1989; Hampton & Yung, 1996; Lockhart, 1985). Yet there are statistics related to African Americans that cannot be ignored. Compared with all other groups, African Americans are more likely to be killed or sustain a serious injury because of domestic violence (Fagan, 1996; Hampton et al., 1998; Hampton & Yung, 1996; Rennison & Welchans, 2000). African Americans are also more likely to be arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated because of domestic violence (Mann, 1987; Richie, 1996; T. Roberts, 1994). African American children are more likely to be removed from the home because of domestic violence (Bent-Goodley, 2004a), and the contraction of HIV among African American women is higher compared with other women when involved in a domestic violence situation (Wingood & DiClemente, 1997; Wyatt, Axelrod, Chin, Carmona & Loeb, 2000). Yet African Americans resist requesting support from formal systems of care, such as the criminal justice and social service systems (Bent-Goodley, 2003; Joseph, 1997; Peterson-Lewis, Turner, & Adams, 1988; West, 1999).

In spite of the knowledge of domestic-violence challenges experienced by African Americans, there are limited cultur- ally competent remedies offered to secure change regarding this issue (Asbury, 1987; Bent-Goodley, 2005; D. W. Campbell, 1993; Gondolf, Fisher, & McFerron, 1991; Sorenson, 1996; West, 1999). Thus,  

"We are still a long way from
​the time when our conscience can

be certain of having done every-thing possible to prevent crime and to control it effectively so that it no longer does harm and (...) to offer

to those who commit crimes a
way of redeeming themselves and making a positive return
​to society."
            Pope John Paul II, July 9, 2000

Human Dignity


Domestic Violence

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Catholic spirituality includes the various ways in which Catholics live out their Baptismal promise, through prayer and action. The primary prayer of all Catholics is the Eucharistic liturgy in which they celebrate and share their faith together, in accord with Jesus' instruction: "Do this in memory of me."


Evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself.

Go and Make Disciples: the 
​USCCB presents a plan for 

1 Peter 3:7
"You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered."

The National Black Catholic Congress®

Domestic Violence Resources:

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Break the Cycle


The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)