Interventions for domestic violence among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol
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Background: Violence during pregnancy is a global problem, associated with serious health risks for both the mother and baby. Evaluation of interventions targeted for reducing or controlling domestic violence (DV) is still in its infancy, and the majority of findings are primarily from high-income countries (HICs). Therefore, there is an urgent need for generating evidence of DV interventions among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines will be employed to structure the review. A comprehensive search will be carried out via electronic databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and The Cochrane library. Gray literature will also be scrutinized for potential articles. An optimal search strategy has been developed following consultations with subject-matter experts and librarians. This search strategy will be adapted to the different databases. Experimental studies evaluating DV interventions among pregnant women from LMICs will be included in the review. The review will only include literature written in English. Two reviewers will independently screen and assess studies for inclusion in the review. A third author will resolve any discrepancies between the reviewers. Risk of bias will be assessed based on the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool, and overall quality of the evidence will be judged using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria. Findings will be presented with the narrative synthesis, and if applicable, they will be further quantified using random-effects meta-analysis. Effect size, risk ratio for dichotomous variables, and standardized mean differences for continuous variables will be calculated for each outcome using Review Manager 5.3. Discussion: Systematic reviews to evaluate the efficacy of interventions to address DV within the perinatal context have been limited. Hence, no one intervention has emerged as substantially effective towards addressing perinatal DV and associated health consequences. The evidence generated from this systematic review will inform researchers and policy makers about the effectiveness of existing DV interventions among pregnant women in LMICs and provide recommendations for future research in this area. This in turn will contribute towards violence prevention in LMICs.
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