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Community-based outreach may reduce distress in women exposed to intimate partner abuse more than system-based referral

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Question: What is the impact of community-based outreach on psychological distress in women exposed to intimate partner abuse (IPA)?

Patients: All 827 female adult victims of non-sexual IPA by a male adult offender reported to the police. Women were randomised by interdisciplinary victim-service team leader based on their IPA report, who were then initially contacted by the criminal justice system-based victim's advocate to assess their needs. Of 827 women randomised, only 236 (28.5%) could be contacted and enrolled in the study.

Setting: Single jurisdiction, large urban city, Rocky Mountain West, USA; recruitment December 2007–July 2008.

Intervention: A community-based outreach programme was compared with criminal justice system-based referral. Outreach involved a selected community-based agency contacting the woman by telephone. Conversations were confidential, and tailored support and services were offered. Referral involved a criminal justice system-based victim's advocate providing the woman with basic information about existing community agencies recommended by the interdisciplinary victim service team. The woman would then need to contact appropriate …

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