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Training Catholic Clergy in Appropriate Pastoral Responses to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

We will provide trainings in select countries in Africa, Asia & Latin America to promote effective responses to and prevention of IPV.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

This project will provide trainings internationally to Catholic clergy and lay ministers to promote culturally appropriate and effective pastoral responses to and prevention of intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is widespread globally and negatively impacts survivors’ ability to prosper physically, emotionally and economically. Research shows that as many as 67 percent of Asian women, 46 percent of African women, and 38 percent of Latin American women are victimized by partner violence at least once in their lifetime. In addition to increasing physical and emotional health, reducing IPV will enhance women's prosperity, creating a bridge between peace and prosperity. Studies cite physical, sexual and psychological harm to women as one factor that impedes women’s economic empowerment, particularly in developing countries. This project is targeted to reach Catholic religious leaders and lay ministers for the following reasons: - Many victims of IPV, particularly in developing countries, are more likely to seek support and healing from parish, school and hospital staff than from a secular or legal entity. - In many areas, there are few agencies providing support to victims of IPV, but there is a presence of the Catholic Church in providing social services, healthcare and education. - Clergy and lay ministers are in the position to educate and train others, which will extend the reach and impact of the trainings. - The Catholic Church’s extensive educational and social service institutions provide an already-present infrastructure for responding to and preventing intimate partner violence in the countries where the trainings will take place. (Sources: and

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries of this project are families affected by intimate partner violence in selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The trainings in Africa will take place in late 2018 in Yaounde, Cameroon; Accra and Tamale, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; Lilongwe, Malawi; Gikongoro, Rwanda; and, Pretoria, South Africa. In 2019, trainings will take place in select countries being identified in Asia and Latin America.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This idea is unique because it will create institutional and cultural changes to combat intimate partner violence by equipping faith leaders with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to appropriately respond to and prevent IPV. The project bridges peace and prosperity by integrating an innovative, culturally-appropriate, original curriculum into the Catholic Church’s social service, healthcare and educational infrastructure.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Pax in Familia is an international organization informed by Catholic social teaching, which is dedicated to peace and to the prevention of violence and abuse in Catholic families (

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Pax in Familia is led by Dr. Christauria Welland who served as an international social worker for 19 years in Calcutta, India and in other countries. During her service she witnessed the devastating effects of IPV and the lack of training available to religious leaders in responding to violence and assisting victims. Dr. Welland is now a clinical psychologist who specializes in preventing violence through trauma-informed responses to IPV and is committed to educating clergy on preventing IPV.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

This project bridges Peace and Prosperity. Peace is influenced by legacies of unresolved trauma that can manifest as intimate partner violence, severely impeding family and community peace and prosperity. Peace also is influenced by religious leaders who may not have an adequate understanding of the causes, effects and appropriate responses to intimate partner violence. Prosperity is negatively impacted by intimate partner violence, given that studies cite physical, sexual and psychological harm to women as one factor impeding women’s economic empowerment, particularly in developing countries.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Project partners include: - National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon - Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference - Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops - The Episcopal Conference of Malawi - Diocese of Gikongoro, Rwanda - Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference - Catholic University of America Additional potential partners include: - Africa Faith and Justice Network - Africa Family Life Federation - Aid to the Church in Need - Missio en Aachen - Missio en Munich - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The greatest strength of the communities that this project will serve is that the religious leadership in the target countries want to be part of the solution in reducing intimate partner violence. Religious leaders in each country have prioritized that trainings be conducted to equip clergy and lay ministers in appropriate responses to and prevention of intimate partner violence in the families in their countries.

Geographic Focus

Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda & South Africa), Asia (TBD) and Latin America (TBD).

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

30 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Claire

Kate, this is such an important idea and well done in making it happen. When I ran in the USA, I met with a Pastor in San Francisco who did her PhD on this exact subject - how to bring counselling for gender based violence into the church space. I would be happy to put you in contact if you would like some further knowledge base. Warm regards, Claire

Photo of Kate null

Thanks so much, Claire! I would love to be put in contact with the Pastor in San Francisco who you mentioned. My email address is Many thanks, Kate