Mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence : a mixed methods systematic review

Solveig Karin Bø Vatnar, Kjartan Leer-Salvesen, Stål Bjørkly

Vitenskapelig oversiktsartikkel/review
Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 2019
Online / DOI:
requiring professionals to report cases of IPV, or suspected IPV injuries, to the police or the criminal justice system. The term for this is mandatory reporting. In spite of its good intention, mandatory reporting of IPV is a controversial issue. The objective of this review was to systematically search for, appraise the quality of, and synthetize the evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on mandatory reporting of IPV. A systematic review of the scientific literature was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. A comprehensive search was conducted through Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, Criminal Justice Abstracts, and SveMedþ. Articles were included if they (a) were peer-reviewed empirical studies rather than theories or discussions, (b) described mandatory reporting of IPV, and (c) were written in English or Scandinavian languages. No time limit was applied. Twenty-five research studies met the criteria for review. Victims were generally supportive of a law requiring professionals to report IPV, although subsamples’ attitudes opposing mandatory reporting were presented as main findings in a substantial number of studies. Group differences between abused or nonabused women and knowledge about mandatory reporting of IPV among professionals was mixed and inconclusive. Few professionals had actually reported IPV under mandatory reporting. Empirical research appears to be scarce, with moderate to high degree of bias and with only limited recent development. Keywords: mandatory reporting, domestic violence, professionals, IPV victims, intimate partner violence, systematic review