Family Violence Evidence Reviews

Puzzle Pieces

The foundation of VEGA’s guidance and education resources was thorough evaluation and synthesis of the existing evidence in the three topic areas. Experts drawn from Canada and internationally served as members of the three evidence review groups.

Evidence Review Methods and Process


The WHO Guideline Development Process was used by each Evidence Review Group. Methods consultants with expertise in conducting systematic reviews and use of the GRADE method, including those from the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team (MERST) and McMaster GRADE (MacGrade), provided input on review methodology; external reviewers ensured validity of the findings. Briefly, the steps were:

  1. Scope the review: developed the guiding questions and inclusion/exclusion criteria;
  2. Identify the evidence: conducted comprehensive searches for all available evidence and retrieved all studies that met inclusion criteria; identified existing and relevant guidelines and systematic reviews and assessed these using established instruments;
  3. Evaluate the evidence: assessed the quality of individual studies that met inclusion criteria; and
  4. Develop recommendations: adapted the GRADE method to synthesize the evidence, and assessed the direction and strength of recommended actions.

A key part of this process was to integrate the feedback from consultations and environmental scans, and especially input from the National Guidance and Implementation Committee (NGIC). VEGA also reviewed other sources of information, such as qualitative and mixed methods research on people’s experiences of violence and of health and social services. These feasibility and plausibility considerations were applied to the evidence-based recommendations in order to create the VEGA guidance.


Review Groups


Oversight & Cross Topic Synthesis Committee

Harriet MacMillan, CM, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Nadine Wathen, PhD
Donna Stewart, CM, MD, FRCPC


Child Maltreatment Review Group (completed 2017)

This review was conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization Guideline Review Groups on child maltreatment and child sexual abuse.

Lead: H. MacMillan
Chair: J. Barlow, PhD
Membership:Tracie Afifi, PhD; John Fluke, PhD; Frances Gardner, PhD; Andrea Gonzalez, PhD; Chris Mikton, PhD; Phil Scribano, PhD; Heather Taussig, PhD; Lil Tonmyr, PhD; Charlotte Waddell, PhD; Chris Wekerle, PhD
Staff lead: Jill McTavish, PhD; Chris McKee, MA


IPV Review Group (completed 2016)

This review was an update and used as its starting point the 2013 World Health Organization (WHO) Clinical and Policy Guidelines for Responding to Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Against Women.

Lead: D. Stewart; N. Wathen
Chair: Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, RN, PhD
Membership: Paula Barata, PhD; Prabha Chandra, MD, MBBS; Siàn Oram, PhD; Claudia Garcia-Moreno, MD, MSc; Kelsey Hegarty, MBBS, PhD; Colleen Varcoe, RN, PhD; Simone Vigod, MD, MSc
Staff lead: Jill MacGregor, PhD


Children’s Exposure to IPV Review Group (completed 2016)

Leads: N. Wathen; H. MacMillan
Chair: Susan Jack, PhD, RN
Membership: Mariette Chartier, PhD; Emma Howarth, PhD; Kathy Georgiades, PhD; Andrea Gonzalez, PhD; Alessandra Guedes, MA, MSc; Anna Marie Pietrantonio, MSW, RSW
Staff lead: J. MacGregor; Mary Gauld


Methods Consultants

Michael Boyle, MSW, MSc, PhD; Gene Feder, MD, FRCGP, OBE; Claudia Garcia-Moreno, MD, MSc; Kathy Georgiades, MSc, PhD; Nancy Santesso, PhD; Diana Sherifali, RN, BScN, PhD


To view/download the VEGA Systematic Review Summaries, please see the Publications Page

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