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Interventions that address interpersonal violence experienced by adolescents globally: a systematic review of reviews
  1. Natasha Walker1,
  2. Amy E Peden1,2,
  3. Amy Bestman1,
  4. Rachel Baffsky1,
  5. Melissa Willoughby3,4,
  6. Tracey Ma1,
  7. Holger Moeller1,5,
  8. Michelle Torok6,
  9. Margaret Peden5,7,
  10. Rebecca Q Ivers1,5,
  11. Patricia Cullen1,5
  1. 1School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7The George Institute for Global Health UK, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patricia Cullen, School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; patricia.cullen{at}


Globally, adolescents experience a significant burden of interpersonal violence, impacting their health, well-being and life trajectory. To address this, decision-makers need reliable evidence on effective interventions across various contexts.

Objectives Synthesise the evidence for interventions addressing interpersonal violence experienced by adolescents aged 10–25 years.

Methods Six electronic databases were systematically searched. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses published globally between 2010 and 2022 were included if they reported interventions addressing interpersonal violence experienced by adolescents. Results were synthesised narratively.

Results 35 systematic reviews were included, of which 16 were also meta-analyses. Majority of reviews included interventions set in high income countries (71%) and implemented in educational settings (91%). Effectiveness was reported in majority of interventions measuring victimisation and/or perpetration of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, bullying and/or cyberbullying (90%), majority of interventions measuring improvements in knowledge and attitudes towards violence (94%) and all interventions measuring bystander behaviour and improvements in well-being and quality of life. However, the quality of included reviews as per Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews 2 and National Health and Medical Research Council was low, and equity as per PROGRESS-PLUS was seldom considered. There was also a paucity of interventions addressing interpersonal violence in low-middle income countries (12%) and none of the included interventions specifically addressed interpersonal violence perpetrated in the home such as family violence.

Conclusion There is some evidence of promising interventions to address interpersonal violence experienced by adolescents, however there are gaps in scope and implementation. There is a need for equity-oriented public health approaches to comprehensively address the disproportionate burden of interpersonal violence experienced by adolescents globally, including those at the highest risk of harm.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020218969.

  • Multiple Injury
  • Burden Of Disease
  • Mortality
  • Adolescent
  • Violence

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  • X @nrosewalker, @amyepeden, @margiepeden, @rebeccaivers, @trish_acullen

  • Contributors Study conception and design: AEP, TM, HM, RI, PC

    Funding acquisition: AEP, RI, PC

    Data collection and analysis: NW, AB, RB, MW, TM, PC

    Manuscript drafting: NW, AEP, AB, PC

    Manuscript revision and editing: NW, AEP, AB, MW, TM, HM, MT, MP, RI, PC

    Guarantor: PC

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and other members of the public were not involved in the design, conductor reporting of this study. The research questions, design and synthesis were informed by clinician researchers working in mental health and adolescent health. The findings will be disseminated through communication channels established in the Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health and the Wellbeing Health & Youth Centres of Research Excellence communities of practice, which include young people, clinicians and researchers.

  • 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.