Addressing Intimate Partner Violence Among Women Veterans

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  • sponsor
    VA Office of Research and Development
Updated on 15 December 2021


Up to 20% of women Veterans (WV) using VHA primary care experience past-year intimate partner violence (IPV), which contributes to numerous physical and mental health conditions, including suicidality. Despite national recommendations to screen WVs for IPV, there is low adoption of IPV screening programs in primary care. In response, VHA is spreading IPV screening programs in Women's Health Model 1 and Model 2 primary care clinics, where the majority of WV VHA primary care patients receive care. The systematic and effective implementation of IPV screening programs within primary care clinics is expected to enhance care for WVs as well as improve access to, and timeliness of, IPV-related care. Given the high prevalence of IPV among WVs and its significant negative health effects, successful implementation of IPV screening programs is expected to reduce morbidity among WV VHA patients. This stepped wedge hybrid II implementation/effectiveness study will assess efforts to implement routine IPV screening for WV VHA patients.


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is common among women Veterans (WVs), with nearly 20% of WVs treated in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) primary care clinics experiencing past-year IPV. VHA's Women's Health Services (WHS), the IPV Assistance Program, and the Offices of Primary Care and Mental Health and Suicide Prevention developed recommendations for implementing IPV screening programs in primary care. More than two-thirds of WV primary care patients receive care in "Model 1" (i.e., mixed-gender primary care) and "Model 2" (i.e., separate but shared space) clinics, but uptake of screening is low in these clinics. WHS therefore plans to use Blended Facilitation (BF) to roll out IPV screening programs in Model 1 and Model 2 primary care clinics. Given the high number of these clinics throughout VHA, it is unclear whether resource-intensive BF is feasible and whether a less intensive strategy (i.e., toolkit + Implementation as Usual [IAU]) can be effective. Research is also needed on the clinical effectiveness of IPV screening programs.

Significance/Impact: Given the high prevalence of IPV among WVs and its significant health effects, successful implementation of IPV screening programs is expected to improve healthcare services and reduce morbidity among WV VHA patients, an HSR&D priority area.

Innovation: This study will be the most comprehensive evaluation of both the implementation impact and clinical effectiveness of IPV screening programs globally. It is innovative in its inclusion of four strong VHA operations partners dedicated to successful implementation of IPV screening programs. This project capitalizes on a time-sensitive opportunity to advance IPV screening programs and implementation science.

Specific Aims: This objective of this proposal is to comprehensively evaluate two strategies for implementing IPV screening programs through achieving three specific aims.

  1. Evaluate the degree of reach, adoption, implementation fidelity, and maintenance achieved using two implementation strategies for IPV screening programs.
  2. Evaluate the clinical effectiveness of IPV screening programs, as evidenced by disclosure rates and post-screening psychosocial service use.
  3. Identify multi-level barriers to and facilitators of IPV screening program implementation and sustainment.

Methodology: The investigators propose a cluster randomized, stepped wedge, Hybrid Type II program evaluation design to compare the impact of two implementation strategies (BF + toolkit vs. toolkit + IAU) and the clinical effectiveness of IPV screening programs. This study will use a mixed methods approach to collect quantitative (clinical records data) and qualitative (key informant interviews) implementation outcomes (Aims 1 and 3), as well as quantitative (clinical records data) clinical effectiveness outcomes (Aim 2). The investigators will supplement these data collection methods with surveys to assess implementation strategies survey to be completed pre-BF, post-BF, and in the maintenance phase. The integrated-Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (i-PARIHS) framework will guide the qualitative data collection and analysis. Summative data will be analyzed using the Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance (RE-AIM) Framework.

Next Steps/Implementation: This study's four VHA operations partners are eager to use the study results to inform future implementation strategies and clinical practices to spread IPV screening programs to all VHA primary care clinics and other clinical settings so that this vital intervention is accessible to all WV VHA patients.

Condition Intimate Partner Violence
Treatment Implementation as Usual, Blended Facilitation, Toolkit
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04106193
SponsorVA Office of Research and Development
Last Modified on15 December 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Women Veterans age 18+
Presenting for care at participating VA-based primary care clinics
Due to be screened for intimate partner violence (IPV)

Exclusion Criteria

IPV screen completed in past year
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