Black women involved in the legal system disproportionately experience intimate partner violence (IPV), but currently have few options for personalized interventions that consider intersectionality, according to a Penn State College of Education researcher.
Brandy Henry, an assistant professor of education (rehabilitation and human services), co-authored a study that found that black women who are IPV survivors, particularly those with co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs) and who are also involved in crime legal system, you could benefit from a culturally sensitive intervention that combines in-person counseling and a computerized tool at your own pace.
“The goal is to tailor an intervention that addresses the stress Black women face that create barriers to accessing services for substance use and interpersonal violence,” Henry said.
In his article published in Women’s Health ReportsResearchers conducted a subgroup analysis of black women using data from a randomized controlled trial that evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of two IPV screening and prevention programs for women who use drugs or drink excessively and were under community supervision in the city of NY.
Participants in the original study were randomly assigned to two IPV prevention conditions: computer or Women Initiating New Goals of Safety (WINGS) case manager. WINGS, which was developed in 2016, is a single-session, evidence-based Brief Screening Intervention and Referral to Treatment and Service (SBIRT) tool that is designed to address IPV among women who use drugs or drink excessively ( WWUD). In the study, the researchers examine the effects of the two conditions from the original study on engagement with IPV services and secondary outcomes, specifically among black participants who experienced physical, sexual, and psychological IPV.
“It’s already known that we need more services, particularly services that address the intersectional issues of underserved communities,” Henry said. “The remaining question was, since (IPV victims) are disproportionately women of color, are there differential effects of the intervention based on race? We wanted to know if the goal of culturally adapting services was effective.”
The WINGS computerized intervention provided a self-paced assessment that enabled women involved in the legal system who use drugs to identify and disclose IPV; provide feedback on your IPV risks; develop self-efficacy to protect yourself from IPV; raise awareness about drug-related IPV triggers; develop safety plans that take into account substance-related risks to IPV; and improve social supports and links to IPV services. A culturally appropriate storyteller guided participants through the tool. The case manager version of WINGS provided the same basic components delivered by a trained case manager.
In the main study, which included women of all races, both WINGS conditions experienced significant improvements in all outcomes during the three-month follow-up period, with no difference between study arms. As in the main study, in the sub-analysis, the investigators’ findings showed that both modalities of WINGS could be useful in identifying and addressing IPV victimization among Black women in community supervision programs who use drugs or drink in public. excess. Unlike the main study, in this sub-analysis there were differences in outcomes between study arms: the case manager approach worked well to increase IPV service uptake, while the computerized arm was helpful in strengthening social support.
For the case manager arm, Henry said, social support may have fallen short due to a cultural mismatch between service providers and the people they served. On the other hand, the computerized intervention was delivered through sessions recorded by women of color, which may have helped forge a sense of affinity. However, Henry added, live counseling sessions were more effective in connecting women with support services like childcare and transportation, possibly because in-person engagement, coaching, and support help tailor those services.
“These findings suggest that different WINGS modalities may work better for different activities and point to the need for hybrid formats that optimize the use of different modalities,” said Henry.
According to Henry, research has shown that there is a correlation between experiencing IPV and substance abuse. Many women cope with intimate partner violence through substance use, which creates a barrier to seeking help, as services for substances and intimate partner violence are often not integrated. Some IPV services may not accept people with active substance dependency, she added, while substance abuse services may not help IPV victims. Additionally, many evidence-based interventions are tested in samples that do not include back women.
“(WINGS) was trying to address this gap and create an integrated package of services that cater to this group of people,” Henry said.
An additional complication for women of color who experience IPV, Henry said, is that they are disproportionately surveilled by police and child protective services. For women who use drugs and have children, they may be automatically referred to child protective services, even if they are in treatment.
“How can we think about delivering services in a way that is disconnected from policing and punishment? How can we work with systems to change systems to divert women from this prison response to community-driven services and provided by the community?
One way this population could be helped without being exposed to state surveillance, Henry said, is through mobile interventions, such as the computerized arm of WINGS. A silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added, is that it has accelerated policy changes that make it easier to provide mobile services.
“Intersectionality is the way the cultural response plays out in this population,” he said. “How can we change that perspective and help deliver services to the people who need them most?”
Dawn Goddard-Eckrich et al, Evidence for help-seeking behaviors among black women under community supervision in New York City: a plea for culturally tailored intimate partner violence interventions, Women’s Health Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1089/whr.2022.0004
Provided by The Pennsylvania State University
Citation: Bimodal Intervention Shows Promise for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (January 20, 2023) Retrieved January 20, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-bimodal-intervention-intimate- partner-violence.html
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