As many as 1 in 3 women report physical or sexual violence, psychological harm, or stalking by a partner in their lifetime. Due to the pervasive and devastating health consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV), which range from acute injuries to long-term physical and mental health issues, routine assessment for IPV is recommended during healthcare visits. Although the Affordable Care Act mandates coverage for IPV assessment, compliance is hampered by lack of evidence for patient-centered assessment strategies. Until IPV assessment can be implemented effectively, patients who are victims of IPV may continue to withhold this crucial information, resulting in missed opportunities for intervention with resources that promote health and save lives. Improving IPV assessment requires engagement from diverse stakeholders, including survivors, their families, advocacy groups, clinicians, healthcare and criminal justice systems, payers, and policy makers. Empowering IPV survivors and stakeholders to be active participants in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER) will give a voice to those impacted by IPV and increase the likelihood that research and policy informing IPV assessment will meet the needs of patients and families.
The long-term objective of WV AWARE is to move toward a more patient survivor-centric IPV assessment research agenda that is responsive to the needs of IPV victims and survivors and other IPV stakeholders. The project’s short-term objectives are to: support future CER on this important topic by building on successful engagement strategies to further expand and diversify the project team’s network of engaged IPV survivors and stakeholders; build capacity for PCOR and CER in IPV, by developing, delivering, and disseminating tools to enhance research-related knowledge and skills among IPV survivors and stakeholders; and generate a national presence for CER in IPV by working statewide and nationally to develop a survivor-centric IPV research agenda. To expand and diversify the project team’s network, the team will host two public IPV forums, recruit additional stakeholders, and regularly communicate WV AWARE activities. To prepare stakeholders for research team roles, the team will deliver four in-person trainings co-facilitated by IPV survivors. To create a research agenda and support engagement of IPV stakeholders in research nationally, potential CER questions and patient-centered outcomes will be compiled, revised, and prioritized at a national IPV meeting. The project team will create a Toolkit for Building IPV Research Capacity by adapting existing toolkits to include trauma-informed approaches for engaging hard-to-reach populations, such as best practices for safe, confidential engagement of survivors. The team’s survivor advisors will co-deliver the research training at a second national meeting.
Support for this work will be provided by West Virginia University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recruitment of new partners and their attendance at events will enhance the likelihood of improved collaboration between diverse stakeholder groups. Survivors’ and stakeholders’ willingness and confidence to join a research team and self-efficacy with training topics will measure built capacity for PCOR and CER in IPV. Dissemination of the research agenda and toolkit increase the likelihood that the project can be scaled to reach a broader audience, including others doing trauma-informed, community-engaged work.