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Background: The implementation of lockdowns in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a system switch to remote primary care consulting at the same time as the incidence of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) increased. Lockdown-specific barriers to disclosure of DVA reduced the opportunity for DVA detection and referral. The PRECODE (PRimary care rEsponse to domestic violence and abuse in the COvid-19 panDEmic) study will comprise quantitative analysis of the impact of the pandemic on referrals from IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) trained general practices to DVA agencies in the UK and qualitative analysis of the experiences of clinicians responding to patients affected by DVA and adaptations they have made transitioning to remote DVA training and patient support. Methods/Design: Using a rapid mixed method design, PRECODE will explore and explain the dynamics of DVA referrals and support before and during the pandemic on a national scale using qualitative data and over four years of referrals time series data. We will undertake interrupted-time series and non-linear regression analysis, including sensitivity analyses, on time series of referrals to DVA services from routinely collected data to evaluate the impact of the pandemic and associated lockdowns on referrals to the IRIS Programme, and analyse key determinants associated with changes in referrals. We will also conduct an interview- and observation-based qualitative study to understand the variation, relevance and feasibility of primary care responses to DVA before and during the pandemic and its aftermath. The triangulation of quantitative and qualitative findings using rapid analysis and synthesis will enable the articulation of multiscale trends in primary care responses to DVA and complex mechanisms by which these responses have changed during the pandemic. Discussion: Our findings will inform the implementation of remote primary care and DVA service responses as services re-configure. Understanding the adaptation of clinical and service responses to DVA during the pandemic is crucial for the development of evidence-based, effective remote support and referral beyond the pandemic. Trial registration: PRECODE is an observational epidemiologic study, not an intervention evaluation or trial. We will not be reporting results of an intervention on human participants.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Family Practice

Publication Date