Background: Isolation was a consequence of the COVID-19 lockdowns, which led to increased incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV). During antenatal care, it is possible to screen pregnant women for IPV; this offers a unique opportunity for early intervention. During the pandemic, we designed and implemented a digital IPV intervention tailored to pregnant women in Denmark and Spain.
Objective: This study aimed to identify pregnant women exposed to IPV through digital screening and offer video counseling as well as a safety planning app to those who screened positive.
Methods: Pregnant women attending antenatal care were screened for IPV through a digital questionnaire. Women who screened positive were offered 6 video consultations with an IPV counselor and provided with access to a dedicated safety planning app. In-depth interviews inspired by the Model for Assessment of Telemedicine Applications were conducted with counselors and participants. The intervention was cocreated with women who have been exposed to IPV, nongovernmental organizations, and health care providers.
Results: Despite the COVID-19 shutdowns, more than 15,000 pregnant women have been screened for IPV since January 2021. Qualitative interviews with women who completed the intervention as well as IPV counselors show broad acceptance of the video counseling, particularly the ability to participate from a safe environment and talk to a stranger about sensitive and stigmatizing issues. Preliminary findings show that both women and counselors find the video counseling highly supportive, empowering, and aligned with the needs for safety. The majority indicate improved well-being after the intervention, and neither counselors nor participants see video counseling as a barrier toward talking about sensitive topics such as IPV. The safety app was not perceived as effective.
Conclusions: The preliminary results show that video counseling conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic supports pregnant women exposed to IPV and is highly feasible and accepted in both Denmark and Spain.
Conflicts of Interest: None declared.
Edited by B Dinesen; This is a non–peer-reviewed article. submitted 02.08.22; accepted 27.03.23; published 03.04.23Copyright
©Karen Andreasen, Ditte S Linde, Antonella Ludmilla Zapata-Calvente, Stella Martín-de-las-Heras, Jesús López Megías, Vibeke Rasch. Originally published in Iproceedings (https://www.iproc.org), 03.04.2023.
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