Faith Communities Supporting Healthy Family Relationships
During COVID-19, family violence reports have risen significantly across the world. On average 1 woman a week is killed and many more are suffering daily violence and abuse. Research shows that women will talk to their faith or spiritual leaders about family violence before, or instead of, going to a family violence service.
Pilot Project (2019-2021)
In the pilot project, the Buddhist Council of Victoria (BCV) worked with the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion Division (MASC) to deliver a pilot project to build the capacity of Buddhist faith community and leaders to effectively prevent and respond to family violence.
The BCV, The University of Melbourne and the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health partnered with the Victorian Government to support the program design and evaluation. The BCV and the Deakin University co-authored an academic article arising from the project. For more information about the pilot project visit the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health website.
Current Project (2021-2023)
The Buddhist Council of Victoria (BCV) is currently working with the Victoria State Government (Department of Families, Fairness and Housing) to deliver a project to build the capacity of Buddhist faith communities and leaders to effectively prevent and respond to family violence. The current project, in partnership with the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) aims to deliver a Participatory Action Research project called ‘Faith Communities Supporting Healthy Family Relationships.’ The project was initially 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.
The current project aims to:
a. Support Buddhist faith and community leaders to learn about gender equality as the driver of violence against women and how to recognise, respond and refer disclosures of family violence.
b. Support men in the buddhist community to be active bystanders and leaders in promoting gender equality.
c. Build the capacity of community and faith leaders to lead the program in the community.
d. Support outreach workers to design and deliver annual workshops on topics aimed at promoting and supporting gender equality.
e. Create culturally appropriate, tailored resources to the Buddhist community providing information on preventing and responding to family violence.
f. Promote healthy, respectful relationships with children in Dhamma Clubs.
g. Support reciprocal learning between the faith sector and the specialist family violence sector.
h. Increase the use of MARAM Information Sharing Schemes by Buddhist chaplains, improving the safety of victim survivors and increasing accountability of perpetrators of family violence.
The current project will involve:
Bi-annual leadership training delivered by ethno-specific services and MARAM collaborative practice training
Train the trainer training sessions delivered by ethno-specific services
Facilitating attendance at the AMES PVAW (Prevention of Violence against Women) leadership program
Recruitment of outreach workers from participating temples and the establishment of a community of practice for outreach workers
Workshops conducted by outreach workers
Design and translation of a range of resources
For more information on the project, contact the project officer Virandi Wettewa. You can email Virandi at firstname.lastname@example.org
These videos have been developed by the Buddhist Council of Victoria to supporting Buddhist communities to prevent and respond to Family Violence (with English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Sinhalese subtitles).
This help card has been developed by the Buddhist Council of Victoria to support Buddhist communities to prevent and respond to Family Violence.
The family violence help card in various community languages:
This toolkit has been developed by the Buddhist Council of Victoria to support Buddhist communities to prevent and respond to Family Violence.
These posters have been developed by the Buddhist Council of Victoria to support Buddhist communities to prevent and respond to Family Violence.
This library of Buddhist passages and teachings can be used within the community to promote non-violence, gender equality and healthy relationships.
The factsheet can be used to understand the debates around gender equality within the Buddhist sphere
These resources for children in Dhamma Clubs have been created to promote healthy family relationships
This technical paper summarises the current state of knowledge about how faith communities, and in particular how faith leaders, can best respond to and prevent family violence and violence against women. It has been developed as part of the first phase of the Faith Communities Supporting Health Family Relationships Participatory Action Research Project with the Multifaith Advisory Group.
The guide is based on participatory consultations with faith groups and an in-depth review of international and Australian literature undertaken in 2018-2019, which explored the causes and reinforcing factors of family violence and violence against women in faith settings as well as what works to address these factors. The review also included an analysis of promising or emerging practices both locally and abroad that may effectively prevent and respond to family violence and violence against women in faith settings.
This tip sheet summarises what works for faith settings addressing violence against women and family violence. It is based on the best evidence currently available. For more information about what causes violence against women and family violence in faith communities, and how you should respond, please read the “Technical Paper: Faith communities supporting healthy family relationships” and “What works to address violence against women and family violence in faith settings: An Evidence Guide.”