Receiving care for intimate partner violence in primary care: barriers and enablers for women participating in the weave randomised controlled trial

Lorna O'Doherty, A. Taket, J. Valpied, K. Hegarty

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    Background Interventions in health settings for intimate partner violence (IPV) are being increasingly recognised as part of a response to addressing this global public health problem. However, interventions targeting this sensitive social phenomenon are complex and highly susceptible to context. This study aimed to elucidate factors involved in women’s uptake of a counselling intervention delivered by family doctors in the weave primary care trial (Victoria, Australia). Methods We analysed associations between women’s and doctors’ baseline characteristics and uptake of the intervention. We interviewed a random selection of 20 women from an intervention group women to explore cognitions relating to intervention uptake. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded in NVivo 10 and analysed using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). Results Abuse severity and socio-demographic characteristics (apart from current relationship status) were unrelated to uptake of counselling (67/137 attended sessions). Favourable doctor communication was strongly associated with attendance. Eight themes emerged, including four sets of beliefs that influenced attitudes to uptake: (i) awareness of the abuse and readiness for help; (ii) weave as an avenue to help; (iii) doctor's communication; and (iv) role in providing care for IPV; and four sets of beliefs regarding women’s control over uptake: (v) emotional health, (vi) doctors’ time, (vii) managing the disclosure process and (viii) viewing primary care as a safe option. Conclusions This study has identified factors that can promote the implementation and evaluation of primary care-based IPV interventions, which are relevant across health research settings, for example, ensuring fit between implementation strategies and characteristics of the target group (such as range in readiness for intervention). On practice implications, providers’ communication remains a key issue for engaging women. A key message arising from this work concerns the critical role of primary care and health services more broadly in reaching victims of domestic violence, and providing immediate and ongoing support (depending on the healthcare context).

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science and Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science and Medicine, [VOL 160, (2016)] DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.05.017

    © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35–42
    JournalSocial Science & Medicine
    Early online date10 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


    • Process evaluation
    • intimate partner violence
    • Theory of Planned Behaviour
    • brief intervention


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