Intimate partner violence (IPV), violence used by one partner against the other in a romantic relationship, is a serious social and public health problem across the globe. Those who assist IPV victims in various social service settings are generally called victim advocates. Japanese victim advocates often receive training provided by governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, there is dearth of research knowledge regarding the effectiveness of these trainings. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a two-day training for IPV victim advocates offered by a large NGO in Japan. This training used the feminist theoretical framework as the foundation of knowledge on IPV and interactive methods to encourage active learning. The training was originally developed in the United States and was adapted to meet the needs of the Japanese advocates through international collaboration.
This study aimed to examine if difference existed between pre- and post-training survey scores on: 1) acceptance of myths on IPV, 2) knowledge on IPV, and 3) self-efficacy pertaining to advocacy skills.
Data were collected between 2014 and 2018 at 8 training events in 6 different Japanese cities. The 23-item paper-and-pencil survey in Japanese was self-administered right before the training began on the first day and immediately after the training ended on the second day. The sample included 168 training participants who were all adults and mostly worked part-time or full-time as victim advocates. Some were volunteer advocates or those who wished to become advocates. Demographic information was not collected with the survey to encourage survey participation and reduce the social desirability effect as each training event had a relatively small number of participants.
To measure acceptance of myths on IPV, the survey included five items from the Domestic Violence Myths Acceptance Scale (Peters, 2008) and two additional items. Knowledge related to IPV was measured using 8 items while self-efficacy was measured by 6 items which were generated based on the training content. All measurements used a 4-point Likert scale, ranging between 1 (strongly disagree) and 4 (strongly agree). The final analytic sample included 145 cases for pretest and 148 for posttest.
Independent-samples t-tests revealed that IPV myth acceptance decreased while knowledge about IPV and self-efficacy increased at statistically significant levels when the pretest and posttest scores were compared (p = .000). The difference was statistically significant also for all individual items.
Conclusions and Implications:
The findings of this study can support the efforts to continue this training for IPV victim advocates in Japan. The contents and delivery methods of this training and the international collaborative approach may inform other training efforts across the globe. Future research may investigate the long-term impact of the training. Further, studies may examine contributing factors to the significant changes in the attitudes, knowledge, and self-efficacy. It is crucial to continue evaluating the training effectiveness and create the environment to support the advocacy efforts for IPV victims in Japan and elsewhere.