Click here to read the latest edition of Public Issue!

More from this month’s Public Issue:

Research Updates:

Women’s Experiences of Sexual Violence in Intimate Relationships: Applying a New Taxonomy
Meredith E. Bagwell-Gray

How do women describe their experiences of sexual violence in their intimate relationships? In answering this question, the present article builds upon a newly developed taxonomy of intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV). Women with past or present intimate partner violence experience (N = 28) were recruited from a domestic violence program and the community at large. Data were collected with semistructured, in-person interviews, audio recorded, and transcribed. As defined by the taxonomy, 27 women (96%) experienced intimate partner sexual abuse; 19 (68%) experienced intimate partner sexual coercion; 14 (50%) experienced intimate partner sexual assault; and two (7%) experienced intimate partner–forced sexual activity. Intimate partner sexual abuse was central to women’s experiences of IPSV. Common categories of sexual abuse were having sex outside of the relationship, controlling reproductive decisions, degrading with sexual criticism and insults, refusing communication, denying pleasure, and withholding sex. The types of IPSV did not typically occur in isolation; the taxonomy revealed a grouping pattern, with intimate partner sexual assault and intimate partner sexual coercion co-occurring with sexual abuse. Understanding the different types of IPSV as a comprehensive mechanism of sexual control is a meaningful way to conceptualize sexual violence in intimate relationships. The expanded taxonomy provides a useful therapeutic tool in helping women share and heal from these experiences.

Identification and Management of Domestic and Sexual Violence in Primary Care in the #MeToo Era: an Update
Kelsey Hegarty

Purpose of Review:
We discuss recent evidence around the identification and response to domestic and sexual violence in primary care for perpetrators and victims, in the context of feminist social media movements such as #MeToo.

Recent Findings:
There is no recent research on identification and response to perpetrators in health settings. There is some limited recent evidence for how health settings can address domestic and sexual violence for female victims and their children. Recent studies of mixed quality focus on advocacy and empowerment, integrated interventions (with alcohol and drug misuse) and couples counselling for domestic violence and cognitive behavioural or processing therapy for sexual violence.

Further research on perpetrator interventions in primary care is urgent. Larger sample sizes and a focus on sexual violence are needed to develop the evidence base for female survivors. Clinicians need to ask about violence and provide a first-line response depending on the patient’s needs.

Factors promoting emotional‐behavioural resilience and adjustment in children exposed to intimate partner violence: A systematic review
Alison Fogarty

Children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are at heightened risk of emotional and behavioural problems. However, not all children exposed to IPV experience difficulties. Many display positive wellbeing and development despite experiencing this adversity.

This is the first known article to systematically review the existing literature on the factors associated with emotional and behavioural resilience and positive functioning in children exposed to IPV.

This review was registered at the PROSPERO international prospective register of systematic reviews, registration number CRD42016037101. Four databases were searched (Embase, Web of Science, Psychinfo, and Medline) for peer‐reviewed articles assessing factors associated with positive outcomes for children (aged between 0 and 12 years) who had been exposed to IPV. Retrieved articles were screened for eligibility by two independent reviewers.

Of the 1,365 retrieved articles, 15 were eligible for inclusion. Results showed that maternal mental health was a significant predictor of resilience in children exposed to IPV. Preliminary evidence was found for emotion coaching, parenting, and child temperament. Broader socio‐contextual factors were largely neglected across the articles reviewed.

he findings from this review highlighted that there is still much to be learned about what helps children display resilience when exposed to IPV and what can be done to foster this resilience.

Domestic violence as child maltreatment: Differential risks and outcomes among cases referred to child welfare agencies for domestic violence exposure
Jennifer Lawson

As awareness has grown regarding the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment and the potential deleterious outcomes associated with children’s exposure to domestic violence, some public child welfare agencies are expanding their reach to include domestic violence as a form of maltreatment warranting protective intervention. Using nationally representative survey data, this study examines differential characteristics, risks, and outcomes of cases referred to child welfare agencies for domestic violence compared to cases referred for other allegations. Results indicate that child welfare cases alleging domestic violence as a maltreatment allegation have unique profiles of risk, demographics, and outcomes that distinguish them from cases alleging other maltreatment types. In the aggregate, cases reported for domestic violence have higher likelihood of substantiation than other cases, but are no more likely to receive child welfare services, and are less likely to result in out-of-home placement. These findings suggest that for many cases that come to the attention of child welfare agencies due to child domestic violence exposure, substantiated findings of maltreatment do not result in more intensive CPS interventions. Findings from this study suggest that some lower-risk cases reported to child welfare agencies for domestic violence exposure could be appropriately targeted for alternative, non-investigative service approaches.