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Mapping review

Norwegian research on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships: An evidence and gap map

Published

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) has commissioned the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to map Norwegian research on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships in order to get an overview of the research in the field and to identify the knowledge gaps.

Forside forskning om forebyggende tiltak og hjelpetiltak mot vold i nære relasjoner.jpg

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) has commissioned the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to map Norwegian research on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships in order to get an overview of the research in the field and to identify the knowledge gaps.


Key message

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) has commissioned the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to map Norwegian research on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships in order to get an overview of the research in the field and to identify the knowledge gaps.

We identified a total of 2512 references, of which 74 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. 30 of the studies dealt with preventive measures, 39 with supportive measures and and five studies dealt with both types of measures.

The main target groups for the measures were:

  • 39 of the measures were aimed at people exposed to violence and abuse
  • 30 of the measures were aimed at people who are particularly exposed to violence in close relationships of which half dealt with people with a minority/immigrant background.

Low priority groups:

  • Only 2 of the measures were aimed at those who use violence and only 7 were aimed at persons working with those who use violence and/or those who are exposed to violence
  • Only a few of the measures were aimed at adults with special needs and disabilities (N=3), older persons (n=7) and persons with mental disorders and substance abuse problems (n=4).
  • We identified no studies on measures related to children with special help-and care needs or or violence related to sexual orientation/gender identity

Few of the measures were within Family Counselling Services, centers for incest and abuse, asylum centers, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations and none of the measures were within the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) or foundations.

Summary

Background

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) has commissioned the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to map Norwegian research on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships in order to get an overview of the research in the field and to identify the knowledge gaps. The scoping review will be used as a basis for making evidence-based priorities for further research in the field.

Methods

We conducted systematic literature searches in electronic databases for Norwegian studies (all study designs) on preventive and supportive measures against violence in close relationships published in year 2010 or later. Pairs of reviewers screened titles, abstracts independently to assess whether they met our inclusion criteria. We coded the included studies in EPPI-reviewer in accordance with a predefined framework. We present the results in this report and as an interactive web-based evidence and gap map.

Results

We identified a total of 2512 references, of which 74 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review of which 30 of the studies were on preventive measures, 39 on supportive measures, and five studies dealt with both types of measures.

Of the studies we identified, where study design was specified in the summary, there was a large predominance of qualitative studies. We identified very few effect studies or observational studies.

Considering support measures, consultation/guidance/support and housing and support services were most frequently described. We identified few studies that described measures related to safety work and no measures related to education/work/finances. In several of the studies, the content of the measure was not described in the summary. Regarding the preventive measures, there was great variation in the measures described. Courses/training for adults and surveys and risk assessment of violence were most frequently described, followed by information work and campaigns. Several of the studies were coded with “other” as they did not fit into the predetermined categories. The main emphasis of the measures described in the studies was aimed at those exposed to violence in close relationships. We identified few studies on measures aimed at those who use violence and on competence enhancing measures for people who work with those who use violence and/or those who are exposed to violence. A large proportion (41%) of the included studies dealt with measures for people who are particularly vulnerable to exposure to violence in close relationships and half of these were aimed at people with a minority/immigrant background. Very few studies were about measures for people with mental disorders, substance abuse problems and adults with special help- or care needs. We also identified few studies on measures for older persons. We did not identify any studies on measures for children with special help- or care needs or measures aimed at those exposed to violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity. In some studies, the target group was not described.

Child welfare services and municipal health services were the arenas with the most studies, both in terms of preventive and supportive measures. Furthermore, several studies were found on measures within the police/judiciary, schools/kindergartens and domestic violence shelters. We also identified several arenas that did not fit into the predefined categories. We identified few studies related to measures within family counselling services, centres for incest and abuse, asylum centres, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations. We found no studies on measures within the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) or foundations.

The interactive web-based evidence and gap map is available here: https://www.nornesk.no/forskningskart-vold/forebyggende-hjelpetiltak-mot-vold.html

Discussion

In this review, we have used a systematic method to search, sort and describe relevant literature. We have also searched for grey literature. In this case, the systematic search was challenging, as we searched for Norwegian studies on a broad topic. Many studies in the field are not published in journals and will not be identifiable in the usual research databases. Furthermore, it is challenging to identify all grey literature in such a broad field. It is therefore likely that we have not identified all Norwegian studies in the area.

A weakness of this review is that we, due to resource constraints, only reviewed the summaries of the studies, which led to a lack of information about the studies we have included. For the same reason, we have not assessed the quality of the included studies and cannot say anything about our confidence in the research we have included. It is also a limitation that we have not included the results from the studies in this review. Thus, this review does not provide information on the effect of the various measures or associations and factors affecting the measures effectiveness.

However, this review can say something about the diversity, volume and characteristics of Norwegian research that are available today. The review can be seen as a source to identify knowledge gaps and define the need for funding and initiation of new primary studies or to plan and prepare systematic reviews.

When it comes to identified knowledge gaps, we only found one effect study and few observational studies and we see a need for research that looks at the effect, associations and factors affecting the effectiveness of different measures for all population groups within different arenas.

Few of the studies dealt with measures specifically aimed at those perpetrating violence in close relationships and we therefore see a need for research on measures aimed at this group. We also found few measures aimed at increasing the competence of people who work with victims of violence and/or those perpetrating violence, and see that there may be a need for research on this type of measures.

We observed that violence against particularly vulnerable groups such as adults and children with special help- or care needs, violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity, violence against older persons and violence related to substance abuse and mental disorders were low priority topics in the identified research. We therefore see a need for research on measures aimed at these groups.

With regard to the arenas of the measures, we identified very few studies within family counselling services, centres for incest and abuse, asylum centres and educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. No studies within the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) or foundations were identified. There may be a need for research on measures within these arenas.

Conclusion

The aim of this review was to show the prevalence of Norwegian research on preventive measures and support measures against violence in close relationships. We identified a total of 74 Norwegian studies, of which 30 were on preventive and 39 on supportive measures and five studies dealt with both types of measures. A large variety measures are described in the research for both preventive and supportive measures. Most of these are aimed at those who are exposed to violence and abuse. Measures aimed users of violence and competence enhancing measures for persons working with those who use violence and/or those who are exposed to violence seem to be less prioritized. Research on measures for people with mental disorders, substance abuse problems and adults and children with special help and care needs, as well as measures related to sexual orientation and gender identity also seems to be of low priority. The main emphasis of the research is on measures within child welfare services, municipal health services, police/judiciary, schools/kindergartens and domestic violence shelters. There is little research on measures within other relevant arenas. Most of the studies were qualitative studies exploring experiences with the various measures. There are very few studies on the effect of measures or on associations and possible causes for whether a measure is effective or not for different groups in the population.

Downloadable as PDF. In Norwegian. English summary.

About this publication

  • Year: 2020
  • By: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Authors Hestevik CH, Steiro A, Smedslund G, Harboe I.
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8406-127-6