Domestic Violence Enhanced Perinatal Home Visits: The DOVE Randomized Clinical Trial

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Background: Perinatal intimate partner violence (IPV) is common and has significant negative health outcomes for mothers and infants. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an IPV intervention in reducing violence among abused women in perinatal home visiting programs. Materials and Methods: This assessor-blinded multisite randomized control trial of 239 women experiencing perinatal IPV was conducted from 2006 to 2012 in U.S. urban and rural settings. The Domestic Violence Enhanced Home Visitation Program (DOVE) intervention group (n = 124) received a structured abuse assessment and six home visitor-delivered empowerment sessions integrated into home visits. All participants were screened for IPV and referred appropriately. IPV was measured by the Conflicts Tactics Scale2 at baseline through 24 months postpartum. Results: There was a significant decrease in IPV over time (F = 114.23; p < 0.001) from baseline to 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postpartum (all p < 0.001). Additional models examining change in IPV from baseline indicated a significant treatment effect (F = 6.45; p < 0.01). Women in the DOVE treatment group reported a larger mean decrease in IPV scores from baseline compared to women in the usual care group (mean decline 40.82 vs. 35.87). All models accounted for age and maternal depression as covariates. Conclusions: The DOVE intervention was effective in decreasing IPV and is brief, thereby facilitating its incorporation within well-woman and well-child care visits, as well as home visiting programs, while satisfying recommendations set forth in the Affordable Care Act for IPV screening and brief counseling.



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