Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience intimate partner abuse

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There is no clear evidence that intensive advocacy reduces sexual, emotional, or overall abuse, or benefits women’s mental health. Uncertainty remains around whether brief advocacy (mostly given in healthcare settings) is effective, although it may provide short‐term mental health benefits and reduce abuse.

Advocacy may contribute to reducing intimate partner abuse, empowering women to improve their situation by providing informal counselling and support for safety planning and increasing access to different services. This review assessed the effects of advocacy interventions within or outside healthcare settings in women who have experienced intimate partner abuse. It includes 13 clinical trials conducted in several countries, involving 2141 women from various ethnic groups, aged 15 to 65 years and often poor. The trials showed that brief advocacy (up to 12 hours) was most common in healthcare settings, and intensive advocacy (more than 12 hours) was more common in other settings. Six key results were found around physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, depression, quality of life, and death. Overall, researchers found that intensive advocacy may improve everyday life for women in domestic violence shelters/refuges in short term and reduce physical abuse one to two years after the intervention. However, researchers noted many biased results, leading to weak study design, and inconsistencies between studies. This causes uncertainties to remain around how much advocacy interventions benefit women or the impact of the type of advocacy, the place it was given, or the severity of the abuse experienced by the women receiving the intervention.

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