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WINGS Partner(s): Louisa Gilbert
Social Intervention Group, School of Social Work

Access: Private
Released: March 2012


Women Initiating New Goals for Safety (WINGS) is a self-paced assessment and intervention that seeks to improve safety and encourage healthy relationships among women on probation in community court settings. WINGS is a collaboration between the Social Intervention Group (SIG) at the Columbia School of Social Work and CCNMTL. 

Participants in WINGS are asked to answer a series of questions on a laptop computer about their relationships. The questions encourage the participant to think critically about whether she is safe in her relationship and, if not, be motivated to change. WINGS provides a linear path for a participant to follow through a combination of interactive activities and educational materials, and includes audio and video components that help guide each participant. Take home materials, such as a safety plan and social support strategies, help provide women with tools to prevent intimate partner violence.

WINGS builds on CCNMTL and SIG's previous intervention projects, in particular using elements developed for Multimedia WORTH.

WINGS is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and is part of a 2-year study to test the efficacy of a self-paced computer model in comparison to a traditional case-worker interview.

Project Details

The WINGS study is currently taking place at two courts in the Bronx. Participants are recruited from waiting areas and are then randomized into the laptop or the traditional arm of the study. The goal of the study is to test whether women in a court situation will more readily disclose intimate partner violence to a computer than to a caseworker they are meeting for the first time.

The core of the WINGS intervention is based on two elements from WORTH (Women on the Road to Health), a computer-supported group intervention developed by researchers at SIG in collaboration with CCNMTL. WORTH was created for low-income, urban, female offenders and addresses intimate partner violence and other gender-specific risk factors for HIV. WORTH was tested and found to be efficacious in a variety of environments.

Elements of the multimedia arm of the WORTH study were done by each WORTH participant privately on a laptop computer. Facilitators of WORTH reported that participants responded more positively to the intimate partner violence screener and safety planer and were more willing to complete it when it was provided on a laptop than in paper form. The WINGS study builds on this laptop-based screener, adding social support activities and videos to the self-paced format. Like WORTH, WINGS supports a range of literacy levels, with every element of WINGS available as audio.

Related news:
Sep-2011: Grant Received to Develop Technology to Abate Intimate Partner Violence