To identify and synthesise the experiences and expectations of women victim/survivors of intimate partner abuse (IPA) following disclosure to a healthcare provider (HCP).
The databases MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsychINFO, SocINDEX, ASSIA and the Cochrane Library were searched in February 2020. Included studies needed to focus on women’s experiences with and expectations of HCPs after disclosure of IPA. We considered primary studies using qualitative methods for both data collection and analysis published since 2004. Studies conducted in any country, in any type of healthcare setting, were included. The quality of individual studies was assessed using an adaptation of the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist for qualitative studies. The confidence in the overall evidence base was determined using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE)-Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research methods. Thematic synthesis was used for analysis.
Thirty-one papers describing 30 studies were included in the final review. These were conducted in a range of health settings, predominantly in the USA and other high-income countries. All studies were in English. Four main themes were developed through the analysis, describing women’s experiences and expectations of HCPs: (1) connection through kindness and care; (2) see the evil, hear the evil, speak the evil; (3) do more than just listen; and (4) plant the right seed. If these key expectations were absent from care, it resulted in a range of negative emotional impacts for women.
Our findings strongly align with the principles of woman-centred care, indicating that women value emotional connection, practical support through action and advocacy and an approach that recognises their autonomy and is tailored to their individual needs. Drawing on the evidence, we have developed a best practice model to guide practitioners in how to deliver woman-centred care. This review has critical implications for practice, highlighting the simplicity of what HCPs can do to support women experiencing IPA, although its applicability to low-income and-middle income settings remains to be explored.
- domestic violence