We welcome the opportunity to report about Active Bystander Intervention (ABI) – a promising approach, used across Anglican settings, to prevent violence against culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) women and their children.
In 2012, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne piloted a violence prevention project with a specific reach into Anglican parishes. Several reports document the development of our focus on primary prevention. In June 2015, Active Bystander Curriculum was added to the Violence Prevention Curriculum, which draws on the VicHealth Framework (2007), Peer Mentoring Curriculum and a Faith based Manual and Tool Kit. These reports and resources can be accessed from http://www.thinkprevent.com.
In many situations there are a variety of opportunities, and numerous people – friends, families, teachers, clergy, that can intervene in an act or pattern of abuse, thus offering an opportunity to also address behaviours BEFORE violence has been perpetrated in the first place.
To help congregations we have developed Active Bystander Training. (AB) Since June 2015, 10 AB workshops have been conducted across Melbourne with a further two planned in 2015. A total of 549 participants have attended these workshops representing 68 Anglican Parishes, 6 non-Anglican (Church of Christ, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, Uniting Church, Baptist, Catholic).
What makes AB training effective?
- The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne is a community leader in violence prevention, utilising a active bystander approach to prevention – since having developed a deep understanding of it through training sessions with a wide-range of groups.
- our project teaches concrete bystander intervention skills for use in the most difficult situations.
- we employ a discussion-based educational philosophy to make training sessions dynamic and interactive.
- AB trainings are not lectures; we utilise original teaching materials which consist of realistic social scenarios involving various forms of men’s violence against women.
- AB provide the context necessary to empower participants to be proactive bystanders.
- AB Training creates a safe space for participants to learn from one another.
- AB training is highly replicable, allowing faith organisations to utilise the curriculum long after the initial training.
- Participants have shown decreases in belief myths surrounding violence against women and increases in knowledge.
- Confidence. AB workshops increase the participants’ sense that they can take effective action.
- Building skills. Motivates participants’ skills to intervene in ways that protect their own safety and are truly supportive to victim(s)
- AB Applied. Former participants are starting to report stories of active bystanding. Read here for former participant feedback
Active Bystander Intervention is a key tool to prevent violence against CaLD women and children but participants must be provided with a robust theoretical framework, active learning experiences to build skills, peer norm groups to encourage helping together and, should be combined with whole-of-organisation efforts, including policy changes and involvement of leadership as active bystanders.