A Web-based Intervention for Abused Women: The New Zealand Isafe Randomised Controlled Trial Protocol
Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and its associated negative mental health consequences are significant for women in New Zealand and internationally. One of the most widely recommended interventions is safety planning. However, few women experiencing violence access specialist services for safety planning. A safety decision aid, weighing the dangers of leaving or staying in an abusive relationship, gives women the opportunity to prioritise, plan and take action to increase safety for themselves and their children. This randomised controlled trial is testing the effectiveness of an innovative, interactive web-based safety decision aid. The trial is an international collaborative concurrent replication of a USA trial (IRIS study NCT01312103), regionalised for the Aotearoa New Zealand culture and offers fully automated online trial recruitment, eligibility screening and consent.
Methods/Design: In a fully automated web-based trial (isafe) 340 abused women will be randomly assigned in equal numbers to a safety decision aid intervention or usual safety planning control website. Intervention components include: (a) safety priority setting, (b) danger assessment and (c) an individually tailored safety action plan. Self-reported outcome measures are collected at baseline and 3, 6, and 12-months post-baseline. Primary outcomes are depression (measured by Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Revised) and IPV exposure (measured by Severity Violence Against Women Scale) at 12 months post-baseline. Secondary outcomes include PTSD, psychological abuse, decisional conflict, safety behaviors and danger in the relationship.
Discussion: This trial will provide much-needed information on the potential relationships mong safety planning, improved mental health, reduced violence as well as decreased decisional conflict related to safety in the abusive relationship. The novel web-based safety decision aid intervention may provide a cost-effective, easily accessed safety-planning resource that can be translated into clinical and community practice by multiple health disciplines and advocates. The trial will also provide information about how women in abusive relationships safely access safety information and resources through the Internet.
Finally, the trial will inform other research teams on the feasibility and acceptability of fully automated recruitment, eligibility screening, consent and retention procedures.
Trial registration: Trial registered on 03 July 2012 on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000708853.