Background: Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) is associated with a range of psychosocial and mental health problems. Having a psychiatric illness increases likelihood of being a victim of DVA. Despite the evidence of a high risk for DVA and the serious effects of violent victimization in psychiatric patients, detection rates are low and responses are inadequate. The aim of the BRAVE (Better Reduction trough Assessment of Violence and Evaluation) study is to improve detection of and response to DVA in psychiatric patients. In this article, we present the protocol of the BRAVE study which follows the SPIRIT guidelines. Methods: The BRAVE study is a cluster randomized controlled trial. We will include 24 community mental health teams from Rotterdam and The Hague. Twelve teams will provide care as usual and 12 teams will receive the intervention. The intervention consists of 1) a knowledge and skills training for mental health professionals about DVA, 2) a knowledge and skills training of DVA professionals about mental illness, 3) provision and implementation of a referral pathway between community mental health and DVA services. The follow up period is 12 months. Our primary outcome is the rate of detected cases of recent or any history of DVA in patients per team in 12 months. Detection rates are obtained through a systematic search in electronic patient files. Our secondary aims are to obtain information about the gain and sustainability of knowledge on DVA in mental health professionals, and to obtain insight into the feasibility, sustainability and acceptability of the intervention. Data on our secondary aims will be obtained through structured in depth interviews and a questionnaire on knowledge and attitudes on DVA. Discussion: This study is the first cluster randomized controlled trial to target both male and female psychiatric patients that experience DVA, using an intervention that involves training of professionals. We expect the rate of detected cases of DVA to increase in the intervention teams. With early detection of victimization of DVA in psychiatric patients we hope to improve the mental health of psychiatric patients in the short and long term. Trial registration:ISRCTN:14115257. Date of registration: 15th January 2015.
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