The effectiveness of interventions to prevent recidivism in perpetrators of intimate partner violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Áine Travers*, Tracey McDonagh, Twylla Cunningham, Cherie Armour, Maj Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Previous reviews of interventions to prevent recidivistic intimate partner violence (IPV) have cited minimal benefits and have been critical of interventions adopting a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to a heterogenous category of offenders. The present systematic review and meta-analysis assesses evidence for interventions situated in a risk-need-responsivity framework, in comparison with the more traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ intervention approach.

Method: Six databases (PsycINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, PILOTS) were searched for studies examining effectiveness of IPV interventions.

Results: Thirty-one studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies were analysed separately depending on whether they compared two treatments (n = 17) or used a no-treatment control group (n = 14). In the meta-analysis, overall effect sizes were OR = 0.52, 95% CI [0.35–0.78] for interventions with follow-up of ≤ one year (p < 0.001) and OR = 0.60, 95% CI [0.46–0.78] for interventions with follow-up between one and two years (p < 0.001). The pooled effects from the studies using follow-up of greater than two years did not reach statistical significance. Subgroup analyses suggested that effect sizes differed across treatment types, with risk-need-responsivity treatments performing well against other modalities. 

Conclusions: Risk-need-responsivity treatments showed promise in the short-to-medium term, but the challenge of sustaining effects into the longer term remains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101974
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Early online date14 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 722523. Horizon 2020 had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Batterer intervention
  • Domestic violence
  • Gender-based violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Partner abuse
  • Violent recidivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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