This policy brief on “The role of faith communities and organisations in prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence” was completed by Elisabet Le Roux, Stellenbosch University, on behalf of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities Gender-based Violence Hub. DFID provided funding for the report.


Executive Summary: Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a public health, development, and human rights issue which requires a comprehensive multi-sectoral response in order to address its many facets, root causes and consequences.  With 84% of the world’s population affiliating themselves with a religion, the faith sector is a key partner in addressing SGBV (Hackett & Grim, 2012:9). Thus a DFID-funded scoping study[1] on the role of faith communities in SGBV prevention and response explored the existing evidence base for faith involvement in SGBV intervention. It found that evidence for the role, nature and impact of faith-based SGBV involvement is needed to facilitate inter-sector collaboration, but that such evidence is currently lacking. Research on and increased documentation of faith-based SGBV intervention programmes will not only contribute to the development of better and more impactful faith-based programming, but also contribute to a growing body of evidence that can facilitate inter-sector partnerships, which in turn hopes to contribute to the reduction of the prevalence and incidence of SGBV and the adequate and integrated response for survivors.

Six key focus areas have emerged as highly relevant for having the faith sector and its work contribute to building the body of evidence, and for strengthening faith-based response and developing inter-sector trust and collaboration, all with the goal of reducing SGBV and providing quality of care to SGBV survivors. These six areas are framed as a set of recommendations for three groups of actors, namely local faith communities and faith-based organisations (FBOs), donors and policy makers, and academics and researchers.

[1] Le Roux, E. 2015. A scoping study on the role of faith communities in prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence: Implications for policy and practice.

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