Article Text

Protocol for developing core outcome sets for evaluation of psychosocial interventions for children and families with experience or at risk of child maltreatment or domestic abuse
  1. Emma Howarth1,2,
  2. Claire Powell2,
  3. Jenny Woodman3,
  4. Erin Walker4,
  5. Heather Chesters2,
  6. Eszter Szilassy5,
  7. Ruth Gilbert6,
  8. Gene Feder7
  1. 1School of Psychology, University of East London, London, UK
  2. 2Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK
  4. 4UCL Partners, University College London, London, UK
  5. 5Centre for Academic Primary Care, Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  6. 6Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University College London Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  7. 7Community Based Medicine, University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Claire Powell; c.powell{at}


Introduction Recognition that child maltreatment (CM) and domestic violence and abuse (DVA) are common and have serious and long-term adverse health consequences has resulted in policies and programmes to ensure that services respond to and safeguard children and their families. However, high-quality evidence about how services can effectively intervene is scant. The value of the current evidence base is limited partly because of the variety of outcomes and measures used in evaluative studies. One way of addressing this limitation is to develop a core outcome set (COS) which is measured and reported as a minimum standard in the context of trials and other types of evaluative research. The study described in this protocol aims to develop two discrete COSs for use in future evaluation of psychosocial interventions aimed at improving outcomes for children and families at risk or with experience of (1) CM or (2) DVA.

Methods and analysis A two-phase mixed methods design: (1) rapid reviews of evidence, stakeholder workshops and semistructured interviews with adult survivors of CM/DVA and parents of children who have experienced CM/DVA and (2) a three panel adapted E-Delphi Study and consensus meeting. This study protocol adheres to reporting guidance for COS protocols and has been registered on the Core Outcome Measures for Effectiveness Trials (COMET) database.

Ethics and dissemination We will disseminate our findings through peer-reviewed and open access publications, the COMET website and presentations at international conferences. We will engage with research networks, journal editors and funding agencies to promote awareness of the CM-COS and DVA-COS. We will work with advisory and survivor and public involvement groups to coproduce a range of survivor, policy and practice facing outputs.

Approval for this study has been granted by the Research Ethics Committee at University College London.

  • child protection
  • community child health
  • public health
  • social medicine

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  • Twitter @powell_claire_, @jlwoodman_UCL

  • Contributors EH conceived of the original study design, which was refined and developed by her, CP, RG, GF, JW, ES and EW. Authors CP and EW led the development of the public patient involvement strategy. CP and HC developed protocols for rapid reviews, which were reviewed and refined by CP, EH, RG, JW and GF. Author CP undertook all searches. CP and EH performed data extraction for reviews. EH, CP, RG, JW, EW, ES and GF contributed to the writing and review of the protocol paper.

  • Funding This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme, funder reference: PR-PRU-1217-21301; UCL award code: 177763. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.