Guidelines for support to survivors of intimate partner violence for church leaders in selected Pentecostal churches in South Africa
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Background: In South Africa (SA), women are considerably more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of their intimate partners. The SA intimate partner violence (IPV) rate is 5 times higher than the global average and it has become a serious public health issue requiring urgent attention by different stakeholders including amongst others, church leaders. IPV remains the most common forms of violence against women and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and controlling behaviours by an intimate partner. This requires constructive interventions from all societal organizations, including religious structure. The purpose of this study was to develop guidelines for support to IPV survivors for leaders in selected Pentecostal churches in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa since Christian women also rely on their church leaders when confronted with IPV. These guidelines are developed from a community nursing perspective since the researcher is both a community nurse and pastor who has been collaborating with several pastors from selected Pentecostal churches as far as IPV survivors' support is concerned. Methods: The study findings revealed that IPV survivors experienced different kinds of abuse, namely, emotional, verbal abuse, physical abuse, social isolation and sexual abuse. Survivors also experienced dilemmas related to lack of support from stakeholders such as family, church leaders and police leading to survivors displaying symptoms of anxiety, depression and distress. Survivors sought support from their families, church leaders and police, but were frustrated by the attitudes portrayed by their families, church leaders and police. Church leaders had no formal training on counselling and gender-based violence, including IPV, and therefore were unable to give efficient support to the survivors. Recommendations: Recommendations are made for research, clinical practice, education, and policy makers. Conclusion: Guidelines for support to the survivors of IPV for church leaders in the Pentecostal churches in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces were developed using Kish's (2001:831) adapted steps in the guideline development process, six systems of Bronfenbrenner's socio-ecological model (1977), and Campbell, Dworkin and Cabral's (2009) ecological model of the impact of sexual assault on women's mental health.
- Health Sciences