Background: The lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) for women presenting to health care settings is estimated to be 38-59%. With the goal of providing help to victims of abuse, numerous IPV assistance programmes have been developed and evaluated across multiple health care settings. Objective: Our scoping review provides an overview of this literature to identify key areas for potential evidence-based recommendations and to focus research priorities. Methods: We conducted a search of MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and psycINFO. We used broad eligibility criteria to identify studies that evaluated the effectiveness of IPV assistance programmes delivered within health care settings. We completed all screening and data extraction independently and in duplicate. We used descriptive statistics to summarize all data. Results: Forty-three studies met all eligibility criteria and were included in our scoping review. Nine categories of assistance programmes were identified: counselling/advocacy, safety assessment/planning, referral, providing IPV resources, home visitation, case management, videos, provider cueing, and system changes. Characteristics of programmes amongst studies frequently reporting positive results included those in which one type of active assistance was used (77.8% of studies reported positive results), a counsellor, community worker, or case manager provided the intervention (83.3% of studies reported positive results), and programmes that were delivered over more than five sessions (100.0% of studies reported positive results). Conclusions: IPV assistance programmes are heterogeneous with regards to the types of assistance they include and how they are delivered and evaluated. This heterogeneity creates challenges in identifying which IPV assistance programmes, and which aspects of these programmes, are effective. However, it appears that many different types of IPV assistance programmes can have positive impacts on women.
Keywords: Domestic violence; intimate partner abuse; spouse abuse; violence against women; woman abuse.