Intimate Partner Violence and Safety Strategy Use: Frequency of Use and Perceived Effectiveness

Elizabeth M. Parker, Andrea C. Gielen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: There is a need for effective interventions that enable women in current or past violent relationships to reduce their risk of revictimization. One approach that can be taken is safety planning, where advocates and women talk about strategies that theoretically increase the women's safety. Although this process is common, there is little empirical research focusing on the effectiveness of the safety strategies. Methods: This systematic review examines the frequency with which women report using safety strategies and their effectiveness at reducing risk of revictimization. Results: Nine studies reviewed confirm prior research, namely, that women in intimate partner violence situations are using a variety of safety strategies at varying frequencies to protect themselves. Results from two studies looking at whether use of safety strategies reduces a woman's risk of future violence provide modest support for a greater risk of revictimization among women who used resistance strategies. Seven studies examined the perceived helpfulness of the strategies. Women who involved other individuals reported that interaction as helpful. There are several limitations to this review, including the focus on perceived helpfulness. What is reported here is not an objective assessment of safety strategy effectiveness. We were also not able to determine whether strategies women reported using were actually discussed during safety planning. Conclusion: There is a dearth of literature focusing on the effectiveness of safety strategies. Women and advocates talk about safety strategies we know very little about. Additional research examining the consequences of using safety strategies is needed because what is known now is preliminary and limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-593
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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