Reducing Disparities in Health and Safety for Young Sexual Minority Women in Abusive Relationships

  • Nancy Glass
  • NICHD R01 05/01/2014 - 08/31/2018

Intimate partner violence (IPV), including violence in dating relationships (dating violence, DV) is a widespread and serious public health problem. Among U.S. female IPV survivors, 47.1% report their first abusive relationship occurred at college age (age 18-24). Similarly, in national surveys, adults respondents 18-24 years of age report the highest rate of stalking victimization, most commonly by a former intimate partner. Safety planning is the most widely used intervention to prevent and respond to DV/IPV, yet the vast majority of abused women never access safety planning services. Our challenge is to increase college women’s access and use of safety planning, with the opportunity to consider their unique safety priorities and level of danger during and when ending an abusive relationship. In addition, while “bystander” interventions that train peers to safely intervene hav been shown to be effective in sexual assault prevention on campus, and college women in abusive relationships most frequently disclose DV/IPV to a friend, no similar interventions have been tested with friends for DV/IPV response on campuses. Therefore, the objective of the 5-year study is to evaluate the: 1) effectiveness of an interactive, personalized safety decision application (“App”), called iPlan, intervention in Maryland and Oregon with: 1) college women (age 18-24) who experience DV/IPV and 2) friends (age 18-24) of women experiencing DV/IPV. The iPlan App allows the user to enter information on: a) relationship health; b) safety priorities and c) severity of violence/danger in relationship. The App then uses the information to provide the user with a personalized safety plan with links to campus/local resources; and 2) dissemination of the iPlan App in partnership with the One Love Foundation, a national advocacy organization, in an expanded four states (Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon) to determine the reach, adoption, implementation and maintenance of App use among university/college students. Our study will address the paucity of evidence that exists on how to disseminate effective safety interventions to prevent and respond to DV/IPV on large and diverse university/college campuses. Despite the significant evidence of negative health and social outcomes of DV/IPV across the lifespan, and the complex priorities that influence safety for college women and friends, little is known about what interventions are most effective and what dissemination approaches are best suited to prevent and respond to DV/IPV university/college campuses. The findings from the study will begin to address this paucity of evidence and assist in implementation of national DV/IPV safety interventions. (from NIH RePort)

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