A comprehensive model for intimate partner violence in South African primary care : action research
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
The original publication is available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/12/399
Background: Despite extensive evidence on the magnitude of intimate partner violence (IPV) as a public health problem worldwide, insubstantial progress has been made in the development and implementation of sufficiently comprehensive health services. This study aimed to implement, evaluate and adapt a published protocol for the screening and management of IPV and to recommend a model of care that could be taken to scale in our underdeveloped South African primary health care system. Methods: Professional action research utilised a co-operative inquiry group that consisted of four nurses, one doctor and a qualitative researcher. The inquiry group implemented the protocol in two urban and three rural primary care facilities. Over a period of 14 months the group reflected on their experience, modified the protocol and developed recommendations on a practical but comprehensive model of care. Results: The original protocol had to be adapted in terms of its expectations of the primary care providers, overly forensic orientation, lack of depth in terms of mental health, validity of the danger assessment and safety planning process, and need for ongoing empowerment and support. A three-tier model resulted: case finding and clinical care provision by primary care providers; psychological, social and legal assistance by ‘IPV champions’ followed by a group empowerment process; and then ongoing community-based support groups. Conclusion: The inquiry process led to a model of comprehensive and intersectoral care that is integrated at the facility level and which is now being piloted in the Western Cape, South Africa.