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Does Routine Screening for Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Health Care Settings do More Good Than Harm?

This study has been completed.
Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario (formerly Ontario Women's Health Council)
Information provided by:
McMaster University Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2005
Last updated: September 8, 2009
Last verified: September 2009
The purpose of the research is to evaluate whether routine screening for woman abuse in health care settings, as compared to no screening, does more good than harm. Recent reviews have identified the need for high quality research to understand 1) the actual impact on all women of instituting mass screening procedures to identify woman abuse and 2) the extent to which early identification through screening is effective in preventing or ameliorating important outcomes. The main outcomes for the study are reduction in violence, improvement in life quality, and potential harms of screening. A number of secondary outcomes to help understand the process by which screening and usual care might lead to changes in the primary outcomes will also be assessed.

Condition Intervention
Intimate Partner Violence Against Women
Other: Screening for intimate partner violence

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Screening
Official Title: If, When and How to Ask the Question(s): Assessing Screening Approaches to Identifying Woman Abuse in Health Care Settings

Further study details as provided by McMaster University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Recurrence of intimate partner violence [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Health-specific quality of life [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Harms of screening and/or usual care [ Time Frame: 18 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Mental health (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], anxiety, somatic complaints, substance use) [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Global physical and emotional health and well-being [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Health services utilization [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Safety behaviours [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Use of information and resources [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Child quality of life [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Stage in process of identifying and resolving abuse [ Time Frame: 18 months ]
  • Exposure to maltreatment as a child [ Time Frame: 18 months ]

Enrollment: 5681
Study Start Date: April 2005
Study Completion Date: July 2008
Primary Completion Date: July 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Women are screened for intimate partner violence prior to seeing a health care provider.
Other: Screening for intimate partner violence
Women are screened for intimate partner violence prior to seeing a health care provider.
No Intervention: 2
Women see their health care provider without being asked about intimate partner violence.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 64 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Women aged 18-64 years
  • Patients at the health care site
  • Able to participate in English
  • Able to separate from accompanying person(s)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Too ill to participate
  • Unable to separate from accompanying person(s)
  • Unable to speak, read, or write English
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00182468

Canada, Ontario
Brantford Aboriginal Health Centre
Brantford, Ontario, Canada, N3T 3C4
Joseph Brant Hospital
Burlington, Ontario, Canada, L7R 4C4
Grimsby Medical Associates
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, L3M 1P2
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, L3M 1P3
St. Joseph's Centre for Ambulatory Health Services
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8G 5E4
Rosedale Medical Group
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8K 1W2
North Hamilton Community Health Centre
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8L 4S1
Aboriginal Health Centre
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8M 1K2
McMaster University Medical Centre
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8N 3Z5
Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8R 1B6
City of Hamilton Public Health and Community Services Department
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8R 3L5
West End Clinic
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 1A4
HART Clinic
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 1B7
Victoria Hospital
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 4G5
St. Joseph's Health Care - Women's Ambulatory Health Centre
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 4V2
St. Joseph's Urgent Care
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 4V2
University Hospital
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5A5
London Family Practice - Dr. Bhayana
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5R9
St. Joseph's Family Medical & Dental Centre
London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 1J1
Willett Hospital Urgent Care
Paris, Ontario, Canada, N3L 2N7
Niagara Health Prompt Care
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, L2R 5K2
Sudbury Family Physicians
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3B 1R6
Sudbury Brady Clinic
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 1H5
Sudbury District Health Unit
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 3A3
Hopital Regional de Sudbury Regional Hospital, Emergency Services
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 3B5
Mt. Sinai Hospital, Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, L8G 5E4
Mt. Sinai Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1X5
Central Toronto Community Health Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2R4
Sponsors and Collaborators
McMaster University
Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario (formerly Ontario Women's Health Council)
Principal Investigator: Harriet L MacMillan, MD, MSc McMaster University
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Dr. Harriet L. MacMillan, McMaster University Identifier: NCT00182468     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: MacMillan_VAW_RCT
Study First Received: September 13, 2005
Last Updated: September 8, 2009

Keywords provided by McMaster University:
Domestic violence
Spouse Abuse processed this record on May 25, 2017