MOthers' AdvocateS In the Community (MOSAIC)

Intimate partner violence affects mothers' physical and emotional wellbeing and that of their children. Social support, however, has been associated with better mental health, irrespective of the level of violence.

MOSAIC’s primary aim was to reduce or prevent partner violence and depression among women pregnant or with children under five and to strengthen women’s health and wellbeing and their attachment to their children.


The intervention

The intervention - support from trained mentor mothers for up to a year after recruitment - was offered to abused or at-risk women who were identified by their GPs or maternal and child health (MCH) nurses. MOSAIC included an additional sub-study with the Vietnamese community.

MOSAIC involved 106 primary care clinics (82 MCH clinics and 24 GP clinics). Of these, 65 (61%) clinics referred 215 eligible patients (144 intervention and 71 comparison) between January 2006 and December 2007, of whom 174 (81%) were recruited.

The intervention continued until December 2008, when 133 women (76%) (91 intervention and 42 comparison) completed the 12-month follow-up survey.

All nurses and GPs were surveyed twice, first during the intervention period and subsequently, to explore the impact of participation in MOSAIC on their practice. Thirty-five women (11 Vietnamese) from the intervention arm and their 19 mentors (four Vietnamese) were interviewed in depth to explore their views about the impact of being mentored, or providing mentoring, on their lives. A cost consequences analysis was undertaken.

The outcomes

All outcomes were in favour of the benefit of non-professional mentor support with significant reduction of partner violence among mentored women compared with those not mentored (mean abuse scores on the Composite Abuse Scale 15.9 vs 21.8, AdjDiff -8.67, CI -16.2 to -1.15). 76% of women in the intervention arm received 12 months' mentoring support and 82% would definitely recommend mentors to friends in similar situations. However, some bias resulting from a two-to-one intervention to comparison referral ratio and the reduced power caution against any generalisation of these results.


Research team

Angela Taft
Rhonda Small
Lyn Watson
Judith Lumley

in collaboration with
Kelsey Hegarty, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne
Lisa Gold, Deakin University and
Women's Health West


MOSAIC acknowledges with gratitude the MOSAIC research staff and mentor Coordinators, the participation of women, their mentors, GPs and maternal and child health nurse teams from the municipalities of Whittlesea, Yarra, Darebin, Brimbank, Melton, Moreland, Maribyrnong and Hobson's Bay.

They are also grateful to project partners Women's Health West and Berry Street family violence services and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, and the MOSAIC Reference Group.



Taft AJ, Small R, Hegarty KL, Watson LF, Gold L, Lumley JA. Mothers' AdvocateS In the Community (MOSAIC) -- non-professional mentor support to reduce intimate partner violence and depression in mothers: a cluster randomised trial in primary care. BMC Public Health 2011; 11: 178. Available from:

Taft AJ, Small R, Hegarty KL, Lumley J, Watson LF, Gold L. MOSAIC (mothers' advocates in the community): Protocol and sample description of a cluster randomised trial of mentor mother support to reduce intimate partner violence among pregnant or recent mothers. BMC Public Health 2009; 9: 159. Available from:

Kerr C, Taft A, Small R. MOSAIC Project Manual: setting up a mentor project for mothers experiencing intimate partner/family violence. Melbourne, Australia: Mother and Child Health Research, La Trobe University; 2009. [PDF 1632KB - Please contact us at if you require an alternative format of this document.]

Taft AJ, Small R, Hegarty K, Lumley J. Report on the development phase of the mentor mothers (MOSAIC) project to Maternity Services Effectiveness Unit, Victorian Department of Human Services. Melbourne: Centre for the Study of Mothers’ and Children’s Health, La Trobe University; 2002

Conference presentations

Draft results of this study were presented to FVPF conference, New Orleans, and the WONCA Europe conference, Basel, Switzerland, in 2009 and the National Women's Health Conference, Melbourne in May 2010.

The results were presented at the 17th International Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women (NNVAWI) in Auckland, New Zealand, in February 2011.


more information


NHMRC, VicHealth, Community Support Grants Fund, beyondblue

Access to information

Trial registration: ACTRN12607000010493 

For more information about MOSAIC, please contact A/Prof Angela Taft (