Interventions for reducing and/or controlling domestic violence among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Systematic Reviews, 2019, 8 (1)
Issue Date:
2019-04-02
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© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Domestic violence (DV) during pregnancy is recognized as a global health problem associated with serious health consequences for both the mother and her baby. Several interventions aimed at addressing DV around the time of pregnancy have been developed in the last decade, but they are primarily from developed countries. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are facing both a mounting burden of DV as well as severe resource constraints that keep them from emulating some of the effective interventions implemented in developed settings. A systematic review was conducted to examine the approaches and effects of interventions designed for reducing or controlling DV among pregnant women in LMICs. Methods: Electronic databases were systematically searched, and the search was augmented by bibliographic reviews and expert consultations. Two reviewers assessed eligibility and quality of the studies and extracted data independently. The third reviewer was involved to resolve any discrepancies between the reviewers. Due to the limited number of studies and varied outcomes, a meta-analysis was not possible. Primary outcomes of this review included frequency and/or severity of DV and secondary outcomes included mental health, safety behaviours, and use of community resources. In addition, findings from the critical appraisal of studies were utilised to inform the initial draft of Theory of Change (ToC). Results: Only five studies (two randomized trials and three non-randomized trials) met the eligibility criteria. The interventions consisting of supportive counselling demonstrated a reduction in DV and an improvement in use of safety behaviours. One study has embedded the DV intervention into an existing program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Limited evidence could be drawn for outcomes such as quality of life and the use of community resources. Discussion: This review attempted to address the knowledge gap by collating evidence on interventions aimed at addressing DV among pregnant women in LMICs. The development of a ToC was critical in understanding how certain activities led to the desired outcomes. This ToC can guide the design of future research and development of practice guidelines. The participatory involvement of the stakeholders is recommended to refine the current ToC to support its further development for practice. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO, CRD42017073938
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