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Health practitioners’ readiness to address domestic violence and abuse: a qualitative meta-synthesis

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posted on 2022-05-11, 02:52 authored by K Hegarty, G McKibbin, M Hameed, J Koziol-McLain, G Feder, L Tarzia, Leesa HookerLeesa Hooker
Health practitioners play an important role in identifying and responding to domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Despite a large amount of evidence about barriers and facilitators influencing health practitioners’ care of survivors of DVA, evidence about their readiness to address DVA has not been synthesised. This article reports a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies exploring the research question: What do health practitioners perceive enhances their readiness to address domestic violence and abuse? Multiple data bases were searched in June 2018. Inclusion criteria included: qualitative design; population of health practitioners in clinical settings; and a focus on intimate partner violence. Two reviewers independently screened articles and findings from included papers were synthesised according to the method of thematic synthesis. Forty-seven articles were included in the final sample, spanning 41 individual studies, four systematic reviews and two theses between the years of 1992 and 2018; mostly from high income countries. Five themes were identified as enhancing readiness of health practitioners to address DVA: Having a commitment; Adopting an advocacy approach; Trusting the relationship; Collaborating with a team; and Being supported by the health system. We then propose a health practitioners’ readiness framework called the CATCH Model (Commitment, Advocacy, Trust, Collaboration, Health system support). Applying this model to health practitioners’ different readiness for change (using Stage of Change framework) allows us to tailor facilitating strategies in the health setting to enable greater readiness to deal with intimate partner abuse.


Author GM was funded to carry out the review by the Safer Families Centre for Research Excellence. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


Publication Date



PLoS One





Article Number



26p. (p. 1-26)


Public Library of Science



Rights Statement

© 2020 Hegarty et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.