Thesis

Intimate partner violence and the African American community: A faith-based, intimate partner violence intervention with instructor's manual and group curriculum

The purpose of the project is to collaborate with African American churches to create an intervention curriculum addressing the needs of African American women survivors of domestic violence (DV). The faith-based intervention includes an instructors' manual and group curriculum designed to increase awareness of intimate partner violence (IPV) and provide psychoeducation, empowerment, and guidance to African American women experiencing IPV. Faith-based institutions have traditionally played a significant role as a source of coping that promotes resilience in the African American community. For this reason, this program is geared for use by faith-based institutions prominent in the African American community. Church leaders, as well as other religious and spiritual leaders within the church will be given the tools to facilitate IPV groups for female adult members of the church congregation who are survivors of domestic violence. The mission of the workshop is to educate religious leaders and members of the church on IPV and religious and spiritual abuse; to educate African American women on IPV, warning signs, resources, safety planning, and social support development; and to facilitate scriptural and spiritually based approaches in order to promote emotional and psychological healing, resilience, and wholeness for survivors of DV. The manual outlines a 12-week IPV workshop, which is to be implemented directly in the church setting. In each weekly session, the religious group leader utilizes psychoeducational materials, discussion, and activities to help members understand, learn, process and apply the material to their lives. By the end of the workshop series, each group member will leave with a greater understanding of IPV and various types of abuse, including spiritual and religious abuse. Members will also have an ability to preserve their safety and well-being by recognizing and identifying precursors of an abusive relationship before entering the cycle of abuse, learning safety-planning skills, and learning about the dynamics of a healthy relationship. Lastly, members will cultivate a sense of empowerment in taking control of their lives.

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