Women's experiences of domestic violence and mental health: Findings from a European empowerment project
Psychology of Violence
Objective: Research shows that women experiencing domestic violence and mental health problems often fall into gaps in services between support for domestic violence and support for mental health. This article reports on an action research project adopting a strengths-based approach to recovery funded by the European Commission. Multi-method research was carried out in five European countries examining how interconnections of domestic violence and mental health impact the lives of women, how
... es of women, how their lives can be improved by empowering strategies, and how service providers' professional learning can be developed. Women survivors' strengths and post-traumatic growth in the context of domestic violence remains a considerably under-researched area and the study provides new insights into adopting a strengthsbased framework. Method: Free training programs were designed, delivered and evaluated for two groups of participants (n=136) pertaining to women service users, and mental health service providers (men and women) working with abused women. Results: Program evaluation data gained through surveys and focus groups show that women participants reported growth in self-esteem and coping skills, while professionals felt better equipped to address the tandem issues of domestic violence and mental health. Conclusions: Findings extend current knowledge about the barriers and facilitators to empowerment and strengths-based recovery perspectives, professional learning, and offer a more nuanced understanding of women's agential ability for post-traumatic growth. Article Type: Special Issue Article -Gender-based Violence: Evidence from Europe There are three key points that you still need to address: You need to provide considerably more evidence to support the statements: 'The RSE Scale has high ratings in reliability, the CES-D Scale has high internal consistency and repeatability, and the NAI demonstrates excellent internal consistency and good test-retest reliability.' And 'PREMIS is a reliable tool for measuring physician preparedness for managing cases of IPV.' We have supported these statements with references to literature. Page 18 -the paragraph beginning 'Mental health providers' completed...' need to make it explicit that the PREMIS measure was implemented prior to the training programme. This also needs to be explicit in the heading of Table 2 . You need to explain in your limitations section why the measure wasn't used again following the training to assess change. The lack of any quantitative measure of change consequent to the training is a weakness of the study. The PREMIS measure was used again at the 6-month follow-up stage following the training but we had thought the number of participants (n=25) was too low to use the data. On reflection, we believe the responses are useful and in the revised manuscript we have compared the T1 and T3 data, and changed Table 2 accordingly. Attrition rates between data collection intervals have already been recognised as a limitation of the study.