Randomised pilot and feasibility trial of a group intervention for men who perpetrate intimate partner violence against women

Cramer, Helen, Gaunt, Daisy M., Shallcross, Rebekah, Bates, Lis orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2425-7201, Kandiyali, Rebecca, Sardinha, LynnMarie, Rice, Caoimhe T., Man, Mei-See, Feder, Gene et al (2024) Randomised pilot and feasibility trial of a group intervention for men who perpetrate intimate partner violence against women. BMC Public Health, 24 (1).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-024-18640-5


Background: There is a need for robust evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes in reducing abusive behaviour and improving wellbeing for victim/survivors. While any randomised controlled trial can present difficulties in terms of recruitment and retention, conducting such a trial with domestic abuse perpetrators is particularly challenging. This paper reports the pilot and feasibility trial of a voluntary domestic abuse perpetrator group programme in the United Kingdom. Methods: This was a pragmatic individually randomised pilot and feasibility trial with an integrated qualitative study in one site (covering three local-authority areas) in England. Male perpetrators were randomised to either the intervention or usual care. The intervention was a 23-week group programme for male perpetrators in heterosexual relationships, with an average of three one-to-one sessions, and one-to-one support for female current- or ex-partners delivered by third sector organisations. There was no active control treatment for men, and partners of control men were signposted towards domestic abuse support services. Data were collected at three-monthly intervals for nine months from male and female participants. The main objectives assessed were recruitment, randomisation, retention, data completeness, fidelity to the intervention model, and acceptability of the trial design. Results: This study recruited 36 men (22 randomly allocated to attend the intervention group programme, 14 to usual care), and 15 current- or ex-partners (39% of eligible partners). Retention and completeness of data were high: 67% of male (24/36), and 80% (12/15) of female participants completed the self-reported questionnaire at nine months. A framework for assessing fidelity to the intervention was developed. In interviews, men who completed all or most of the intervention gave positive feedback and reported changes in their own behaviour. Partners were also largely supportive of the trial and were positive about the intervention. Participants who were not allocated to the intervention group reported feeling disappointed but understood the rationale for the trial. Conclusions: It was feasible to recruit, randomise and retain male perpetrators and female victim/survivors of abuse and collect self-reported outcome data. Participants were engaged in the intervention and reported positive benefits. The trial design was seen as acceptable. Trial registration: ISRCTN71797549, submitted 03/08/2017, retrospectively registered 27/05/2022.

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