The Evidence Portal covers evaluations of interventions that aim to address violence against women in high-income countries, based on effectiveness studies of various study designs. We have taken an inductive approach to categorising and organising the evidence base, whereby we are guided by the literature derived from our systematic search. We plan to continually build our framework based on the emergence of new literature and stakeholder consultation.
ANROWS’s methodological approach for the Evidence Portal follows the Campbell Collaboration guidelines for undertaking systematic reviews and evidence and gap maps. The Campbell Collaboration is a world leader in publishing and overseeing high-quality systematic reviews and EGMs, which ensures that evidence syntheses are high-quality and transparent. Broadly, this process involves pre-defining our concepts, inclusion criteria and literature search approach. It means that our Evidence Portal is built using rigorous and clear parameters.
To be eligible for the Evidence Portal, our studies must meet criteria across the following dimensions:
Interventions need to explicitly aim to address violence against women and we include interventions that align with the four domains set out in the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 (prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing).
Any program, strategy, tool, campaign, directive or other activity designed to produce change or address a problem in relation to violence against women is included.
We include both victims and survivors and perpetrators of violence against women, as well as their children. We also include studies with practitioners or staff as participants. Studies that involve the general public or community members are included if the aim of the intervention is prevention of violence against women. We place no limits on the age of participants and are inclusive of transgender and non-binary people.
Studies are included if they measure the impact of an intervention on victims and survivors, children who experienced parental intimate partner violence, perpetrators or the broader community. The Evidence Portal does not include any evaluations which look to understand how an intervention was implemented. This excludes outcomes pertaining to intervention process evaluation and staff satisfaction or knowledge.
Primary evaluations can use randomised controlled trial, quasi-experimental, interrupted time-series or single group pre-post study designs. We include evaluations of interventions that use quantitative or qualitative methods and data, but also secondary data analysis via systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Studies are published in the English language and are conducted in high-income countries, as classified by the World Bank in 2022. This criterion narrows the scope of the Evidence Portal while also ensuring that evidence from other countries may be more likely to be transferable to Australia.
The date range for the systematic search currently includes studies published between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2022. January 1994 coincided with the release of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define and address violence against women.
Any publications that are publicly accessible, such as journal articles, books, theses and dissertations and systematic reviews are included. Documents such as report summaries, letters, news articles and book reviews were excluded.
We perform comprehensive database searches, developed according to best practice Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The searches combine large sets of terms used to describe violence against women with evaluation and intervention terms. They also cover a range of data fields (e.g., titles, abstracts, keywords of a document). The searches were developed by an information retrieval expert.
Screening of all citations and records is managed via uploading to the web-based systematic review software, DistillerSR. Screening is conducted in phases (e.g. first assessing a citation for eligibility based on its title and abstract, and then, if eligible, on its full text). At all phases, we use standardised training materials, a screening inter-rater reliability simulation, a cross-checking process and machine learning to predict our rates of inclusion and expedite screening.
Eligible studies, which met the inclusion criteria (above), are divided into categories based on their study design.
Extensive data extraction is performed in DistillerSR, which captures the details of the study methods and outcomes and the details of the intervention, including theory of change, mode of delivery and type of violence addressed. This information informs the Evidence and Gap Maps as well as the Intervention reviews.