Transform Research Alliance: ‘Rapid Review’ explores domestic abuse

Spectrum’s Transform Research Alliance publishes Rapid Reviews which explore research on diverse topics. This month, we’re taking a look at Domestic Abuse.

September’s Rapid Review began by analysing the results of 33 published journal articles and reviews  on intimate partner violence (IPV) against women.

Risk and protective factors

The research identified positive risk factors for domestic abuse across many communities and cultural groups, although many were not statistically significant enough to form a strong evidence base. Nonetheless, some risk factors uncovered by the research included:

  • Non-white racial/ethnic identity
  • Women’s experiences of unwanted pregnancy
  • Chaotic lifestyle factors, such as binge drinking or marijuana use
  • Having less than high-school level education

Meanwhile, factors such as older age, being unmarried, greater social support and having positive parental relationships were found toto be protective against intimate partner violence.

The review also considered the effectiveness of different kinds of interventions. Although there was little evidence to support significant impact of advocacy, the paper also explored coping strategies employed by female victims of intimate partner violence.

Coping Strategies

Emotion-focused coping strategies were more commonly employed by women than problem-solving coping strategies. Some of the emotional coping strategies utilised included:

  • Wishful thinking
  • Talking the perpetrator out of abuse/encouraging the perpetrator to receive counselling
  • Walking away
  • Trying to become more independent
  • Moving to an undisclosed location

The coping strategies that were rated as most helpful included:

  • Self-care strategies
  • Religious or spiritual strategies
  • Strategies to increase independence
  • Strategies involving emotional expression
  • Maintaining relationships with others
  • Safety planning

In their review of the evidence, the TRA asks providers to consider how different patterns of abuse affects differing subpopulations and to explore the pros and cons of universal versus targeted screening in identifying intimate partner violence victims before implementing programmes. The review also suggests that the most effective interventions are those which provide comprehensive support over time and do not see abuse as a homogenous phenomenon. To find out more about this review and the Transform Research Alliance, visit their website.