Effective prevention of intimate partner violence through couples training: A randomised controlled trial of Indashyikirwa in Rwanda

Kristin Dunkle, Erin Stern, Sangeeta Chatterji, Lori Heise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Between 2015 and 2018, three civil society organisations in Rwanda implemented Indashyikirwa, a four-part intervention designed to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) among couples and within communities. We assessed the impact of the programme's gender transformative curriculum for couples. Methods Sectors (n=28) were purposively selected based on density of village savings and loan association (VLSA) groups and randomised (with stratification by district) to either the full community-level Indashyikirwa programme (n=14) or VSLA-only control (n=14). Within each sector, 60 couples recruited from VSLAs received either a 21-session curriculum or VSLA as usual. No blinding was attempted. Primary outcomes were perpetration (for men) or experience (for women) of past-year physical/sexual IPV at 24 months post-baseline, hypothesised to be reduced in intervention versus control (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03477877). Results We enrolled 828 women and 821 men in the intervention sectors and 832 women and 830 men in the control sectors; at endline, 815 women (98.4%) and 763 men (92.9%) in the intervention and 802 women (96.4%) and 773 men (93.1%) were available for intention-to-treat analysis. Women in the intervention compared with control were less likely to report physical and/or sexual IPV at 24 months (adjusted relative risk (aRR)=0.44, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.59). Men in the intervention compared with control were also significantly less likely to report perpetration of physical and/or sexual IPV at 24 months (aRR=0.54, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.75). Additional intervention benefits included reductions in acceptability of wife beating, conflict with partner, depression, and corporal punishment against children and improved conflict management, communication, trust, self-efficacy, self-rated health, household earnings, food security and actions to prevent IPV. There were no study-related harms. Conclusions The Indashyikirwa couples' training curriculum was highly effective in reducing IPV among male/female couples in rural Rwanda. Scale-up and adaptation to similar settings should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002439
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume5
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 22 2020

Keywords

  • Cluster randomised trial
  • health education and promotion
  • prevention strategies
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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