Interventions for Intimate Partner Violence: Review and Implications for Evidence-Based Practice

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The objective of this article was to survey available intimate partner violence (IPV) treatment studies with (a) randomized case assignment, and (b) at least 20 participants per group. Studies were classified into 4 categories according to primary treatment focus: perpetrator, victim, couples, or child-witness interventions. The results suggest that extant interventions have limited effect on repeat violence, with most treatments reporting minimal benefit above arrest alone. There is a lack of research evidence for the effectiveness of the most common treatments provided for victims and perpetrators of IPV, including the Duluth model for perpetrators and shelter-advocacy approaches for victims. Rates of recidivism in most perpetrator- and partner-focused treatments are approximately 30% within 6 months, regardless of intervention strategy used. Couples treatment approaches that simultaneously address problems with substance abuse and aggression yield the lowest recidivism rates, and manualized child trauma treatments are effective in reducing child symptoms secondary to IPV. This review shows the benefit of integrating empirically validated substance abuse and trauma treatments into IPV interventions and highlights the need for more work in this area.

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