Which violence against women educational strategies are effective for pre-qualifying healthcare students? A systematic review

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Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global public health issue which disproportionately affects women. Health-care providers have an important role in recognizing and addressing GBV in practice, yet research suggests that the issue remains underrecognized, with many qualified professionals reporting lack of confidence and a sense of unpreparedness. Prequalifying GBV educational strategies are inconsistent in both quantity and quality worldwide, and to date, there has been no comprehensive review of those programs’ effectiveness. This internationally focused literature review aimed to identify best educational practices in GBV for prequalifying health-care students. A systematic search of six databases yielded 17 studies meeting the inclusion criteria, with all studies examining one or more educational intervention. Quality appraisal was undertaken and data were tabulated to capture relevant information. Thematic findings suggest that interactive educational strategies yield better results than didactic approaches. Similarly, interventions with a focus on practical application of learning are generally preferred over strictly theoretical approaches. Courses of longer duration seem to be more effective in instilling attitudinal changes. Lastly, gendered differences were noted in a number of studies, with female students consistently outperforming males. However, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of single- versus mixed-gender audiences. This review makes a useful contribution to the literature of health education, supporting many findings from previous studies and identifying knowledge gaps to be explored in future research. There are implications for both educators and practitioners in creating discernible change for women in their care.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalTrauma, Violence and Abuse
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2019


  • assessment
  • domestic violence: adult victims
  • domestic violence: battered women
  • domestic violence: disclosure of domestic violence
  • domestic violence: intervention/treatment
  • sexual assault


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