Feasibility of an Online Safety Planning Intervention for Rural and Urban Pregnant Abused Women

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) in pregnancy is common and harmful to maternal–child health. Safety planning is the gold standard for intervention, but most abused women never access safety planning. Pregnant women may face increased barriers to safety planning and risk of severe IPV, particularly if they are also rural residents. Internet-based safety planning interventions may be useful, but no such interventions specific to the needs of pregnant women have been developed.


The aim was to evaluate feasibility (usability, safety, and acceptability) of Internet-based safety planning for rural and urban abused pregnant women and practicality of recruitment procedures for future trials.


An existing Internet-based safety decision aid for pregnant and postpartum women was adapted; initial content validity was established with survivors of IPV, advocates, and national IPV experts; and a convenience sample of community-dwelling abused pregnant women was recruited and randomized into two groups to test the decision aid.


Fifty-nine participants were enrolled; 46 completed the baseline session, 41% of whom (n = 19) resided in nonmetropolitan counties. Participants' average gestational age was 20.2 weeks, and 28.3% resided with the abusive partner. Participants reported severe IPV at baseline (mean Danger Assessment score of 16.1), but all were able to identify a safe computer, and 73.9% completed the baseline session in less than 1 week, with no adverse events reported.


These findings provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of an Internet-based safety decision aid for urban and rural abused pregnant women.

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