Facilitators to engagement in a mother–child therapeutic intervention following intimate partner violence Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects more than one in four children worldwide. Despite the growing evidence base for interventions addressing children’s IPV exposure, little is known about what assists families to engage with services. The current study sought to explore women’s perceptions of barriers and facilitators to accessing an intervention for their children following IPV. A total of 16 mothers who had engaged in a community-based, dyadic intervention for children exposed to IPV participated in the study. The Brief Relational Intervention and Screening (BRISC) is an evidenced informed program designed by Berry Street (Australia). A pilot of the intervention was implemented across one metropolitan and one regional site. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 mothers who had completed BRISC. Transcripts were analyzed in NVivo using thematic analysis. Key facilitators to initial engagement included strong referral pathways, clear information about the program, and initial phone contact from the service. Difficulty trusting services were identified as a key barrier to initial engagement. Facilitators of continued engagement included flexibility in service delivery, consistent and direct communication between sessions, and the therapeutic approach. Key barriers to sustained intervention engagement included children’s continued contact with their father, mothers’ experiences of guilt and blame, and the need for additional support for mothers’ own mental health. These findings highlight how service and clinician factors such as flexibility, therapeutic approaches, and communication can facilitate engagement for families affected by IPV. In addition, the study highlights the importance of including the voices of women in research to improve the acceptability of services for consumers.

publication date

  • 2020