Millions of people around the world, primarily women, experience harm from a current or former partner, whether physical, sexual, economic, psychological, or a combination of these. This intimate partner violence (IPV) is a fundamental injustice that violates women’s basic rights and affects the mental and physical well-being of affected women, their families, and broader communities. The repercussions of violence against women can last for generations.
A number of organizations and programs across the globe seek to protect women and girls from violence and support survivors with medical and psychological services. ideas42 is applies behavioral science to programs addressing IPV by partnering with organizations in several countries, each of which has a unique approach to the problem. In addition, we have funded efforts to find innovative interventions to reduce this type of violence. Below is a selection of projects aimed at reducing IPV.
We worked with Raising Voices and the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention in Uganda to reduce the frequency and prevalence of IPV. First, we developed a board game to increase intimacy between partners by helping them see from each other’s perspectives, aiming to build empathy despite potentially disparate household roles. Then we also trained community activists in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to equip them with tools to help community members assess and change harmful thinking patterns. After the training, one community activist said it gave him concrete ways to think about and deal with many of the problems he faces in his work with community members.
Reducing alcohol use: Beautiful Home
In India, we targeted men’s alcohol use in an effort to reduce IPV, as the two are linked in complex ways. We partnered with RTI Global India, St. John’s Research Institute, and the Association for Promoting Social Action to test whether small financial incentives for sobriety can lead to reductions in drinking in the evening. In addition, we evaluated whether coupling incentives with brief behavioral couples therapy can foster sustained change in alcohol use, relationship dynamics, and intimate partner violence. In both treatment groups, alcohol consumption and violence reported by women decreased. Using a violence scale validated in the Indian context, we found a 30% decrease in violence in the incentives-only group and a nearly 50% decrease in violence in the incentives plus BCT group. View the Beautiful Home project brief.
Increasing access to supportive services
We’re collaborating with the International Planned Parenthood Federation—Western Hemisphere Region and Asociación Civil de Planificación Familiar (PLAFAM) in Venezuela to increase access to psychological services for women who have been affected by IPV. When women screen positively for IPV at one of PLAFAM’s clinics, they should receive a referral to psychological services. However, not everyone who screens positive uses the psychological services. ideas42 is working to design solutions, targeting both patients and providers, to increase the number of women who receive and use these referrals at three PLAFAM clinics. When more women who experience IPV receive medical, psychological, and other assistance, quality of life for them and their families improves.
Reinvigorating the search for innovative interventions in IPV
We have provided funding to Dr. Michele Decker at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to adapt the MyPlan app, an innovative safety-planning tool that coaches women through assessing their risk of IPV and formulating a safety plan, for lower-resource settings. ideas42 will contribute technical support on evaluation design. The app will be pilot tested in a secondary school in Mogadishu, Somalia and in a health center in Nairobi, Kenya.
We are also partnering with RNW Media, an NGO specializing in positive media messaging around love and relationships in India, to develop an online campaign to change knowledge and attitudes among young couples about controlling behaviors and their relationship to intimate partner violence. On the popular Love Matters India platform, this campaign is intended to empower couples to seek positive, healthy relationships and to distinguish loving behaviors from abusive ones. We are working with the UK-based international provider of social development research Social Development Direct to ensure that the campaign is evidence-based and grounded in a robust theory of change. Social Development Direct are leading suppliers of violence prevention research, evaluations and technical advice.
This work brings together insights not commonly applied to the problem of intimate partner violence. We hope this approach facilitates new and unexpected solutions to this serious and far-reaching problem which, when paired with rigorous evaluation, could help reduce and prevent IPV worldwide. For more on these projects, explore the links on the right.