Twisted love dating violence exposed

(Regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence.) Those who are often on the periphery, in other words, who sometimes float between parishes, or sit in the back pews.

Is it true — as one Anglican bishop has claimed — that there are striking similarities to the church's failure to protect children from abuse, and that this next generation's reckoning will be about the failure in their ranks to protect women from domestic violence?

A 12-month ABC News and 7.30 investigation involving dozens of interviews with survivors of domestic violence, counsellors, priests, psychologists and researchers from a range of Christian denominations — including Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal and Presbyterian — has discovered the answers to these questions will stun those who believe the church should protect the abused, not the abusers.

She also told her pastor her story, but no one followed it up.

The violence mounted until one day her husband threw their three-year-old daughter across the room after the toddler accidentally bumped his leg.

Queensland academic Dr Lynne Baker's 2010 book, Counselling Christian Women on How to Deal with Domestic Violence, cites a study of Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches in Brisbane that found 22 per cent of perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse go to church regularly.

But American research provides one important insight: men who attend church less often are most likely to abuse their wives.

But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.

The culprits were obvious: it was the menopause or the devil.

When she left Peter, Sally also left her church parish, feeling isolated and unwanted as a single mother. She wishes she had heard just one sermon on domestic violence, or had one supportive ear.

The fact that domestic violence occurs in church communities is well established.

Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically*.