Efficacy of a web-based safety decision aid for women experiencing intimate partner violence: Randomized controlled trial

Jane Koziol-McLain, Alain C. Vandal, Denise Wilson, Shyamala Nada-Raja, Terry Dobbs, Christine McLean, Rose Sisk, Karen B. Eden, Nancy E. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a human rights violation and leading health burden for women. Safety planning is a hallmark of specialist family violence intervention, yet only a small proportion of women access formal services. A Web-based safety decision aid may reach a wide audience of women experiencing IPV and offer the opportunity to prioritize and plan for safety for themselves and their families. Objective: The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of a Web-based safety decision aid (isafe) for women experiencing IPV. Methods: We conducted a fully automated Web-based two-Arm parallel randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a general population of New Zealand women who had experienced IPV in the past 6 months. Computer-generated randomization was based on a minimization scheme with stratification by severity of violence and children. Women were randomly assigned to the password-protected intervention website (safety priority setting, danger assessment, and tailored action plan components) or control website (standard, nonindividualized information). Primary endpoints were self-reported mental health (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised, CESD-R) and IPV exposure (Severity of Violence Against Women Scale, SVAWS) at 12-month follow-up. Analyses were by intention to treat. Results: Women were recruited from September 2012 to September 2014. Participants were aged between 16 and 60 years, 27% (111/412) self-identified as Maori (indigenous New Zealand), and 51% (210/412) reported at baseline that they were unsure of their future plans for their partner relationship. Among the 412 women recruited, retention at 12 months was 87%. The adjusted estimated intervention effect for SVAWS was -12.44 (95% CI -23.35 to -1.54) for Maori and 0.76 (95% CI -5.57 to 7.09) for non-Maori. The adjusted intervention effect for CESD-R was -7.75 (95% CI -15.57 to 0.07) for Maori and 1.36 (-3.16 to 5.88) for non-Maori. No study-related adverse events were reported. Conclusions: The interactive, individualized Web-based isafe decision aid was effective in reducing IPV exposure limited to indigenous Maori women. Discovery of a treatment effect in a population group that experiences significant health disparities is a welcome, important finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere8
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Depression
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • New Zealand
  • Population Groups
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • eHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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