Intimate partner violence (IPV) threatens the safety and health of women worldwide. Safety planning is a widely recommended, evidence-based intervention for women experiencing IPV, yet fewer than 1 in 5 Canadian women access safety planning through domestic violence services. Rural, Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant women, those who prioritize their privacy, and/or women who have partners other than men, face unique safety risks and access barriers. Online IPV interventions tailored to the unique features of women’s lives, and to maximize choice and control, have potential to reduce access barriers, and improve fit and inclusiveness, maximizing effectiveness of these interventions for diverse groups.
In this double blind randomized controlled trial, 450 Canadian women who have experienced IPV in the previous 6 months will be randomized to either a tailored, interactive online safety and health intervention (iCAN Plan 4 Safety) or general online safety information (usual care). iCAN engages women in activities designed to increase their awareness of safety risks, reflect on their plans for their relationships and priorities, and create a personalize action plan of strategies and resources for addressing their safety and health concerns. Self-reported outcome measures will be collected at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months post-baseline. Primary outcomes are depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, Revised) and PTSD Symptoms (PTSD Checklist, Civilian Version). Secondary outcomes include helpful safety actions, safety planning self-efficacy, mastery, and decisional conflict. In-depth qualitative interviews with approximately 60 women who have completed the trial and website utilization data will be used to explore women’s engagement with the intervention and processes of change.
This trial will contribute timely evidence about the effectiveness of online safety and health interventions appropriate for diverse life contexts. If effective, iCAN could be readily adopted by health and social services and/or accessed by women to work through options independently. This study will produce contextualized knowledge about how women engage with the intervention; its strengths and weaknesses; whether specific groups benefit more than others; and the processes explaining any positive outcomes. Such information is critical for effective scale up of any complex intervention.
Clinicaltrials.gov ID NCT02258841 (Registered on Oct 2, 2014).