Abuse - role of the Assemblies

In matters which affect the Cause the Assembly should, if it deems it necessary, intervene even if both sides do not want it to, because the whole purpose of the Assemblies is to protect the Faith, the Communities, and the individual Bahá’í as well.

Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 58

When a Bahá’í wife finds herself in such a situation [of domestic violence] and feels it cannot be resolved through consultation with her husband, she could well turn to the Local Spiritual Assembly for advice and guidance…

Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia, dated April 12, 1990

. . . every Assembly should have an emergency response plan for referring crisis calls and handling domestic violence reports. It should maintain an up-to-date resource list of local protection and support services and how to refer people to them. The Assembly should be aware that in actual crisis situations, time is of the essence and there should be no delay in seeking protective assistance, if the abused party wishes it.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p.75.

. . . if an Assembly finds itself unable to function effectively concerning a case of domestic violence, due to the fact that the alleged abuser is an Assembly member or for any other reason, it should contact the National Assembly.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 68.

An Assembly should be careful not to minimize an allegation of "date rape" or of rape by a spouse. Sexual abuse or assault involving a person under a certain age (the age varies by state) is a crime regardless of whether consent is given or force is used. Assemblies should be aware of the laws applicable in their state.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 99.

Assemblies must not allow themselves to be misled by abusers, who are frequently successful manipulators and may seek to discredit victims through accusing them of exaggeration and misrepresentation or may try to engage sympathy on their own behalf by portraying themselves as victims in the situation. Rather than being taken in by such claims, Assemblies should endeavor to provide a balance of encouragement for such of their qualities as are commendable combined with firm and unequivocal guidance concerning violations of Bahá’í standards of conduct.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 105