About the project
From 2018-20, MCWH was proud to partner with University of Melbourne to deliver a Participatory Action Research project called 'Faith Communities Supporting Healthy Family Relationships.'
The project was established by the Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) based on recommendations 163 and 165 of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, and funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet's Multicultural Affairs Unit.
How did the project make a difference?
Family and domestic violence is a serious moral and spiritual concern that is primarily driven by gender inequality and other negative attitudes towards women. Faith and spiritual leaders play a key role in shaping community attitudes and behaviours and preventing violence against women.
Faith leaders are also often the first people survivors of domestic violence turn to for guidance and support before or instead of secular domestic violence services. However, there are many reasons why they may feel limited in their capacity to respond appropriately to family violence.
Building the capacity of faith leaders is critical in raising awareness about the issue of family violence within faith communities.
Watch this short video on the need to invest in faith leaders as potential partners in preventing violence against women.
What did the project involve?
STEP 1: Looking at the evidence about what works for faith communities preventing violence
The project collected current evidence about best, promising and emerging practices to build the capacity of faith-based organisations, communities and leaders to effectively prevent and respond to family violence and violence against women.
Our Technical Paper provides evidence about best, promising and emerging practices to build the capacity of faith-based organisations, faith communities and, especially, faith leaders to effectively prevent and respond to family violence and violence against women.
STEP 2: Turning the evidence into action and learning more about what works in practice for faith communities preventing violence
The second part of the project involved supporting and evaluating what worked for five different faith groups as they planned and undertook their own projects to build the capacity of their faith leaders to respond to and prevent violence.
MCWH ran a Community of Practice for the five groups throughout the project, to share their experiences, support and learn from one another.
Our project partners
The groups that participated were from five faith communities:
- Anglican Diocese
- Uniting Church
- Buddhist community
- Sikh community
- Multifaith approach (Faith Communities Council of Victoria)
The University of Melbourne produced the Technical Paper and conducted evaluation of the projects.