IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 15833: Leveraging Faith Communities to Prevent Violence against Women: Lessons from the Implementation and Delivery of the Motivating Action through Empowerment (MATE) Program (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Gender-based violence is a human rights and public health issue, disproportionately affecting women. The Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) bystander program aims to address violence against women by shifting focus from perpetrators and victims of violence to community responsibility for not accepting attitudes and behaviors that support or allow the violence to occur. Traditionally bystander programs have been delivered through institutions, most notably college campuses in the United States. The translation of bystander programs to community settings is not widely reported. This research aimed to understand whether a violence prevention program could be effectively delivered in a faith community setting; specifically, it focuses on the implementation of MATE in a Christian church network in the Gold Coast region of Queensland, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten church-based trainers in the MATE pilot program. Theoretically informed analysis using the COM-B behavior model identified that environmental factors had a large bearing on opportunities to deliver MATE workshops. This research identified six key lessons for MATE and other programs wishing to leverage faith communities: (1) Provide religious context; (2) Accommodate diversity; (3) Build faith leader capacity; (4) Employ social marketing; (5) Undertake co-design; (6) Actively administer, measure and monitor.