The Professional Quality of Life of Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocates: A Systematic Review of Possible Risk and Protective Factors

Bromley, Harriet; Davis, Sarah K.; Morgan, Blaire and Taylor-Dunn, Holly (2023). The Professional Quality of Life of Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocates: A Systematic Review of Possible Risk and Protective Factors. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse [Early Access].

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/15248380231171187

Abstract

Professionals employed within the field of domestic and sexual violence (DV/SV) are known to experience both positive and negative psychological impacts because of the nature of their work. This review aims to establish which factors influence the professional quality of life (ProQOL) of DV/SV advocates. This group is known to face challenges that are specific to their working practices including scarce resources and frequent exposure to traumatic material. The systematic review protocol was designed based upon Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020 guidance. Following a mixed-methods convergent segregated approach, a systematic search for qualitative and quantitative research within PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Wiley Online Library, and BASE was undertaken. Peer-reviewed empirical research and relevant gray literature, published in English, were considered for inclusion. Thirty articles were identified (16 quantitative, 13 qualitative, and 1 mixed-methods study), and assessed for methodological quality and risk of bias using established quality appraisal tools. An array of risk and protective factors emerged including communication competence, support from co-workers, office resources, and occupational stigma. A gap in the current evidence base was identified regarding the role that personal strengths may play in the well-being of those employed within the DV/SV sector. The ProQOL of DV/SV advocates is complex and dependent upon a variety of factors specific to their situation at the time. However, the findings of this review provide an important evidence base for future research avenues as well as policies and procedures for this workforce specifically.

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