Trends in outcomes used to measure the effectiveness of domestic and sexual violence and abuse services: a scoping review

In the UK, domestic and sexual violence and abuse (DSVA) is prevalent, and a range of support services and interventions are available to those who have experienced or perpetrated it. Currently, there is no consensus on how the effectiveness and impact of these services should be measured, nor is it clear what outcomes and outcome measures are currently being used by service providers and researchers.

In 2022, VISION researchers, led by Dr Sophie Carlisle, co-designed and conducted a scoping review with an advisory group of representatives from six UK-based DSVA organisations, to summarise, map and identify trends in outcome measures used in evaluations and studies of DSVA services and interventions in the UK.

They searched eight databases, four grey literature databases, put out a call for evidence and searched relevant DSVA websites and identified a total of 80 studies describing 87 interventions and services that were relevant to the review.

A total of 426 outcome measures were extracted, of these there were 282 unique outcome measures. The most commonly used outcome, reported in 11 studies, was the cessation of abuse, as measured by the Severity of Abuse Grid. Over time, both the number of studies and the variety of outcome measures has increased.

This research highlights inconsistencies in measurements of effectiveness in evaluations of DSVA services and research. As this area matures, there is an increased need for a core of common, reliable metrics.

For further information please see: Trends in outcomes used to measure the effectiveness of UK-based support interventions and services targeted at adults with experience of domestic and sexual violence and abuse: a scoping review | BMJ Open

Photo from licensed Adobe Stock library

Cost effectiveness of primary care training & support programme for secondary prevention of DVA

Recent research evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety plus (IRIS+) intervention compared with usual care using feasibility data derived from seven UK general practice sites.

IRIS+ is a training and support programme for clinicians working in primary care to aid in their identification of those experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence / abuse (DVA).

VISION Deputy Director, Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa and Director, Professor Gene Feder, worked with their University of Bristol colleagues to conduct a cost–utility analysis, a form of economic evaluation comparing cost with patient-centred outcome measures, as a means to measure the benefit obtained from the treatment or intervention.

The specific cost-utility analysis they conducted assessed the potential cost-effectiveness of IRIS+ which assists primary care staff in identifying, documenting and referring not only women, but also men and children who may have experienced DVA as victims, perpetrators or both.

The analysis showed that in practices that adopted the IRIS+ intervention, a savings of £92 per patient occurred. The incremental net monetary benefit was positive (£145) and the IRIS+ intervention was cost-effective in 55% of simulations (when the model is repeated with different assumptions).

The research team therefore concluded that the IRIS+ intervention could be cost-effective in the UK from a societal perspective though there are large uncertainties. To resolve these the team will conduct a large trial with further economic analysis.

For further information please see: Primary care system-level training and support programme for the secondary prevention of domestic violence and abuse: a cost-effectiveness feasibility model | BMJ Open

Or contact Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa at

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash