MOSAIC (MOthers' Advocates In the Community): protocol and sample description of a cluster randomised trial of mentor mother support to reduce intimate partner violence among pregnant or recent mothers
BACKGROUND:Intimate partner violence (IPV) is prevalent globally, experienced by a significant minority of women in the early childbearing years and is harmful to the mental and physical health of women and children. There are very few studies with rigorous designs which have tested the effectiveness of IPV interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of abused women. Evidence for the separate benefit to victims of social support, advocacy and non-professional mentoring suggested that a combined model may reduce the levels of violence, the associated mental health damage and may increase a woman's health, safety and connection with her children. This paper describes the development, design and implementation of a trial of mentor mother support set in primary care, including baseline characteristics of participating women. METHODS/DESIGN:MOSAIC (MOtherS' Advocates In the Community) was a cluster randomised trial embedded in general practice and maternal and child health (MCH) nursing services in disadvantaged suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Women who were pregnant or with infants, identified as abused or symptomatic of abuse, were referred by IPV-trained GPs and MCH nurses from 24 general practices and eight nurse teams from January 2006 to December 2007. Women in the intervention arm received up to 12 months support from trained and supported non-professional mentor mothers. Vietnamese health professionals also referred Vietnamese women to bilingual mentors in a sub-study. Baseline and follow-up surveys at 12 months measured IPV (CAS), depression (EPDS), general health (SF-36), social support (MOS-SF) and attachment to children (PSI-SF). Significant development and piloting occurred prior to trial commencement. Implementation interviews with MCH nurses, GPs and mentors assisted further refinement of the intervention. In-depth interviews with participants and mentors, and follow-up surveys of MCH nurses and GPs at trial conclusion will shed further light on MOSAIC's impact. DISCUSSION:Despite significant challenges, MOSAIC will make an important contribution to the need for evidence of effective partner violence interventions, the role of non-professional mentors in partner violence support services and the need for more evaluation of effective health professional training and support in caring for abused women and children among their populations. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ACTRN12607000010493.