Advocacy for victims of intimate partner violence

Evidence Rating  
Insufficient Evidence
Evidence rating: Insufficient Evidence

Strategies with this rating have limited research documenting effects. These strategies need further research, often with stronger designs, to confirm effects.

Health Factors  
Decision Makers

Advocates work to empower victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and link them with community services such as emergency shelter and psychological assistance, legal, housing, and financial advice, and help establishing safety plans. Advocates try to help victims understand the abusive situation and achieve their own goals, rather than prescribing pre-determined solutions. Advocacy support can be short-term, crisis-focused or include more intensive, longer-term services, depending on victims’ needs and programs’ designs1.

What could this strategy improve?

Expected Benefits

Our evidence rating is based on the likelihood of achieving these outcomes:

  • Reduced intimate partner violence

  • Improved quality of life

Potential Benefits

Our evidence rating is not based on these outcomes, but these benefits may also be possible:

  • Reduced post-traumatic stress

  • Improved mental health

What does the research say about effectiveness? This strategy is rated insufficient evidence.

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether advocate support improves outcomes for victims of intimate partner violence1. Available evidence suggests that community-based advocacy may reduce victims’ post-traumatic stress, depression, and fear2, and intensive advocacy can reduce future physical abuse and increase quality of life for victims1. However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects and better understand which advocacy methods are most effective1.

How could this strategy impact health disparities? This strategy is rated no impact on disparities likely.
Implementation Examples

There are various efforts across the country to advocate for and support victims of intimate partner violence, for example, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence3 and National Resource Center on Domestic Violence4.

Implementation Resources

NCDVTM-IPV advocacy - National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, & Mental Health (NCDVTM). Resources for advocates: Trauma-informed DV advocacy.


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1 Campbell-Rivas 2016 - Rivas C, Ramsay J, Sadowski L, et al. Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of women who experience intimate partner abuse: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2016:2.

2 DePrince 2012 - DePrince AP, Labus J, Belknap J, Buckingham S, Gover A. The impact of community-based outreach on psychological distress and victim safety in women exposed to intimate partner abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2012;80(2):211–221.

3 NCADV - National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The voice of victims and survivors.

4 NRCDV - National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV). Strengthen and transform efforts to end domestic violence.

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