Methods: Survey data were collected from 102 immigrant Korean faith leaders randomly selected from a Korean Business Directory in 2019. The survey questionnaire consisted of DV intervention strategies and 35 items of DV knowledge. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were employed.
Results: With regard to intervention strategies, over one third of the pastors answered that they prayed for the victim and the perpetrator, followed by providing pastoral counseling. Less than 5 % reported the abuse incident to police. The relationship between type of intervention and church position was moderated by gender. Female faith leaders including pastors’ wives and junior pastors tended to refer victims to formal services, while male pastors in higher ranks were more likely to employ religious remedies. In response to a list of IPV knowledge, such items as “Being treated like a child” and “Isolation from family and friends” were not regarded as spouse abuse by pastors.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings show that Korean faith leaders predominantly adopted pastoral counseling and prayer as their immediate DV intervention strategies. Moreover, they had limited DV knowledge that may pose a risk of exacerbating the victims’ health and mental health. This study suggests the importance of ongoing DV training sessions to improve church leaders’ knowledge on DV and helping strategies such as empowering the immigrant DV victims to proactively seek help in a timely manner and linking them to appropriate community-based agencies. The significant gender moderation effect suggests that social workers should reach out to more male faith leaders to involve them in well-developed training programs. Carefully designed partnership and collaboration between Korean American DV service programs and female faith leaders appear to be important in increasing culturally sensitive DV service resources and utilization in the Korean immigrant community.