Religious people are less likely to recognise domestic violence within their own faith communities.
That is according to a new study which also found religious people are more likely to hold patriarchal views about gender roles, viewed as a driver of gender-based violence.
Australian National University lead researcher Professor Naomi Priest, who noted religious people still viewed family violence as an issue of national importance, looked at determinants of domestic violence among 1200 people.
She said the research revealed a major barrier to addressing the issue within those communities.
"There seems to be a lack of ability, or willingness to acknowledge (family violence)," she said.
"We see it in other organisations, an attitude of 'it's not in our backyard' - that's a very human phenomenon. But we certainly see that within faiths, prioritising the patriarchy."
Professor Priest also found "harmful" responses from faith leaders were common, including defensiveness, victim-blaming and an over-emphasis on forgiveness while sacrificing personal safety.
Statistically, domestic violence incidents are not more prevalent in faith communities.
"Simply put, this study found if you're religious it doesn't mean you think domestic violence isn't happening. But, you are not inclined to recognise it as an issue among members of your own faith," she said.
It was also found religious service attendance, how often one prayed and religious identity were all associated with patriarchal beliefs about gender roles.
Professor Priest said the research posed serious questions regarding religion and equality.
"We've got to continue to have conversations about the role of religion in public life," she said.
"How we maintain that freedom for people to practice religion is important because it's a fundamental right, but work has to be done with communities on particular issues and make sure people are safe.
"We've got to ask some really serious questions about gender equality."
Australian Associated Press