Authors: Montesanti, S., Ghidei, W., Silverstone, P., & Wells, L.
Date: September 2020
The findings from the rapid review demonstrate that despite the broad range of negative effects associated with domestic and intimate partner violence, virtual care interventions that incorporate trauma-focused treatment are scarce and largely limited to online support tools that facilitate empowerment and self-efficacy of individuals who are currently in a violent or abusive relationship. Available online interventions that incorporate trauma-focused treatment for this at-risk group are limited in scope, and effectiveness data are preliminary in nature. Research evidence supports the provision of online psychological therapies for reducing psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from domestic violence or sexual assault. Findings from the rapid evidence review also indicate that treatment provided via videoconferencing is capable of achieving comparable gains that accrue during traditional in-person services. The provision of virtual care delivery (e.g., videoconferencing) is associated with a number of perceived challenges regarding the impact of distal services on the relationship between providers and clients, confidentiality, patient safety and technological difficulties. Stakeholder interviews conducted in Alberta helped to contextualize knowledge from the rapid evidence review support understanding of the experiences of providers and patients in using virtual care to treat trauma-related symptoms resulting from domestic violence and sexual assault. Providers shared both positive aspects of virtual care, such as the accessibility of virtual care sessions or appointments, and barriers to delivering virtual care which included concerns about privacy and safety of their clients and organizational changes that were required to delivery services and treatment virtually.