An Integrative Review of Safety Strategies for Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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16 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is prevalent and a leading source of morbidity and mortality to women worldwide. Safety planning is a cornerstone of harm reduction and violence support in many upper income countries. Far less is known about safety strategies used by women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the IPV support service infrastructure may be more limited. This study aimed to review the literature regarding safety strategies in LMICs. A PubMed search was conducted using search terms “safety,” “coping,” “harm reduction,” and “intimate partner violence.” Inclusion criteria comprised IPV studies mentioning characterization and utilization of safety strategies that were written in English and conducted in an LMIC. Our search yielded 16 studies (in-depth interviews, n = 5; focus group discussions, n = 2; case study, n = 2; mixed qualitative methods, n = 4; mixed methods, n = 1; and semi-structured quantitative survey, n = 2). Four distinct themes of strategies emerged: engaging informal networks, removing the stressor/avoidance, minimizing the damage to self and family through enduring violence, and building personal resources. IPV-related safety strategies literature primarily emerged from site-specific qualitative work. No studies provided effectiveness data for utilized strategies. Across geoculturally diverse studies, results indicate that women are engaging in strategic planning to minimize abuse and maximize safety. Women highlighted that safety planning strategies were feasible and acceptable within their communities. Further research is needed to test the effectiveness of these strategies in decreasing revictimization and increasing health and well-being. Further adoption of safety strategies into violence programming could increase monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-82
Number of pages15
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • cultural contexts
  • disclosure of domestic violence
  • domestic violence
  • intervention/treatment
  • sexual assault
  • support seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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