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Over on our social media channels this week we have been profiling some of the amazing women working in the DVA sector, in recognition of International Women’s Day last Sunday. 

The women featured have all had a profound impact on the collective work that goes on within the Domestic Violence and Abuse sector and we wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the excellent work that they have done and continue to do by focusing on short biographies. 

Dr Emma Williamson, Head of the Centre for Gender Violence and Research, University of Bristol

“I come to this work as a survivor and am committed to ensuring that as researchers and academics we raise the voice of victims and survivors, and challenge perpetration of abuse and the inequalities which cause it.”

Emma is a Reader in Gender Based Violence and since 2015 the Head of the Centre for Gender and Violence Research. She came to this field of work 25 years ago when she  started a PhD looking at Domestic Violence and Health.  That research came from research questions raised by practitioners and front-line workers, as much of the subsequent work she has conducted has. This has included research on health, law, social policy, social care, child protection, and service interventions. 

Emma previously worked as the Domestic Violence Information and Membership Manager for Women’s Aid, the National Domestic Violence charity and continues to work in partnership with them and other NGOs to ensure that their research has genuine and real-life impact. Emma also has a keen interest in research ethics and have published widely on this topic. She is the current Faculty Research Ethics Officer and Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law Research Ethics Committee.

Emma’s most recent research projects have included:  an NIHR Programme Grant project testing the IRIS+ intervention for General Practitioners; An ESRC funded project on Justice Inequalities and Gender Based Violence (2016-2018); a Forces in Mind Trust project on domestic abuse and military famillies (2016-2018); as well as a Global Challenges Research Fund, ESRC/AHRC funded project on Gender Based Violence and Displacement.  (2016-2018).

For more information on the work that Emma is doing head to the Bristol University website here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/people/emma-williamson/index.html

Dr Joy Shacklock, GP, Practice Safeguarding Lead, Named GP for Safeguarding and RCGP Clinical Champion for Safeguarding.

“Daily I see the lifelong devastation caused by domestic abuse. But I also see the remarkable courage and resilience shown by those who experience it. The victims and survivors who share their journey with me inspire me endlessly.”

Joy writes: 

“I am a GP, Practice Safeguarding Lead, Named GP for Safeguarding and RCGP Clinical Champion for Safeguarding.  One of the greatest privileges I have working as a GP, is working alongside victims and survivors of domestic abuse. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be victims of domestic abuse so it is something we see a lot in primary care. We see a lot of children who experience domestic abuse and we also care for perpetrators of domestic abuse which adds to the complexity. 

GPs provide holistic care in partnership with patients whilst balancing their needs, rights and wishes with our duty to protect them, and others, from abuse. Unsurprisingly this can be very challenging, particularly in the context of domestic abuse. 

At the RCGP, we have developed a Safeguarding Hub  (www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/safeguarding) which houses a specific section on domestic abuse as well as our Adult and Child Safeguarding toolkits. 

I represent the RCGP at INCA DVA (Intercollegiate and Agency National Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum) and NHS England’s Domestic Violence and Abuse Expert Clinical Reference Group. These groups bring together survivors of domestic abuse, experts from the sector and healthcare leaders. 

Delivering teaching to GPs and other primary care staff provides me with many wonderful opportunities to equip primary care with the tools they need to give practical support to victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse. 

Daily I see the lifelong devastation caused by domestic abuse. But I also see the remarkable courage and resilience shown by those who experience it. The victims and survivors who share their journey with me inspire me endlessly. They are the foundation and drive behind my passion to work with others, including IRISi, to empower primary care to be able to support and safeguard those who experience domestic abuse.”

Jain Lemom, Senior Policy and Commissioning Manager at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).

Jain Lemom is a Senior Policy and Commissioning Manager at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). She leads a team that tackles Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) on behalf of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Prior to this she also held the brief for gangs/serious youth violence at MOPAC. and headed up VAWG and Partnerships in the Community Safety Unit of the Greater London Authority where she delivered London’s first ever integrated strategy to end VAWG. As part of MOPAC she has now presided over her third London strategy which was launched earlier this year. 

Jain chairs a number of London wide forums bringing partners from a range of sectors to work through strategies on prevention, support to victims and tackling perpetrators of VAWG.

She has been involved with London regional government for several years. She started her policy career at the Association of London Government and covered a range of issues.  

Jain later became part of London Councils where she led on commissioning and developed training also for the voluntary and community sector on this issue.  

She moved to cover crime and community safety and worked mainly with local government councillors and officers on policing, serious youth violence and violence against women and girls (VAWG).

Jain’s career has spanned several different sectors since graduating including business analysis in the banking industry and working in the voluntary and community sector.

For more information on the work MOPAC do, visit https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac

Dr Clare Ronalds is the GP Lead, for the Manchester IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) GP domestic abuse training and support programme which started in early 2012. 

Clare was a Lecturer in General Practice at the University of Manchester and GP principal at the Robert Darbishire practice, caring for patients in Rusholme and Moss Side from 1981. Her academic research focused on mental health; the outcome of anxiety and depressive disorders in primary care, somatisation training and psychiatric social work in primary care. 

In 1995 she became partner and GP trainer at the Ladybarn Group Practice in south Manchester. She was practice clinical lead for diabetes care, mental health, palliative care and safeguarding lead, retiring from practice in 2015.   She was awarded the RCGP Fellowship in 2005.  

In Manchester IRIS is funded by the NHS and Manchester City Council, under Manchester Health and Care Commissioning and is delivered by The Pankhurst Trust incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid (MWA). MWA IRIS’s initial remit was to recruit and train 16 practices. However, Clare and the team’s ambition was to train all the practices. By December 2017 all 89 Manchester GP practices were IRIS trained and have an IRIS specialist domestic abuse worker linked to the practice. 

Domestic abuse has huge health impacts and IRIS teaches all GPs, nurses and staff to recognize patients with health problems suffering from domestic abuse. In Manchester the response has been amazing and GP practice referrals (of women and men suffering abuse, aged 17 – 87) for specialist help have increased to over 800 a year, compared to less than 10 per year before MWA IRIS started. 

Clare works with her IRIS colleagues to develop the IRIS training and service both locally and with IRISi nationally. 

Her ambition now is that IRIS is commissioned for all GP practices in Greater Manchester and nationally, to enable many more patients to improve their health by getting help for the long-term damaging effects of domestic abuse.  

Dr Alison Gregory, Research Fellow

“As a society, domestic violence is an issue that is going to take all of us, pulling together, to overcome. I wouldn’t be doing research in this field if I didn’t genuinely believe that we can move towards a better, safer future. There are days when this hope feels far off, but spending time with people who are directly affected – survivors, informal supporters, or front-line specialist staff –  always reignites my sense of purpose.”

Alison started her research career in 2007, joining the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol to work on the IRIS study. IRIS proved to be landmark research, demonstrating that by training and supporting clinicians, we could substantially improve identification and referral of women experiencing domestic violence and abuse (DVA). 

Whilst working on this study, Alison realised this was a field of research she felt strongly about and where the evidence-base was lacking. Alison’s subsequent research topics have included: the impact on children in DVA households, peer support for survivors of sexual violence and abuse, vicarious trauma for frontline workers and researchers, healthcare professionals’ experiences of DVA, and older adults’ experiences of trauma. 

However, Alison’s primary focus, and the topic she feels most passionately about, is equipping and empowering people providing informal support (friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues) to women experiencing abuse. It is this research which led to public health campaigns in several areas of the England, and for which Alison won the Corinna Seith Young Scholar Award in 2015. But why this particular focus? Well, from existing research, we know that women experiencing DVA are most likely to turn to people they know, that people in this position often don’t know what to do or say to help, but that when the received support is positive that it can make all the difference for women in terms of safety, health and wellbeing. 

So, Alison’s research (currently funded by the AXA Research Fund) aims to find out what informal supporters’ needs are, to develop an intervention to support them, and to test this to see if we can gain dual-benefits – if by supporting informal supporters, they are better equipped to help women experiencing abuse.

For more info about Alison’s current project visit  http://www.bristol.ac.uk/primaryhealthcare/researchthemes/building-resilience-in-forgotten-heroes/




AVA is an expert, groundbreaking and independent charity working across the UK.

Their vision is a world without gender based violence and abuse. They aim to  inspire innovation and collaboration and encourage and enable direct service providers to help end gender based violence and abuse particularly against women and girls.AVA’s work is focused around those areas where they can make the best contribution to ending violence and abuse. They do this by making sure that survivors get the help and support they need in the here and now, through providing innovative training that has a proven direct impact on the professional practice of people supporting survivors of violence and abuse

developing a range of toolkits, e-learning and other material that supports professionals to provide effective and appropriate support to survivors of violence and abuse

using our influence and networks to ensure survivors voices are heard. We work closely with AVA in many areas including the Pathfinder project



SafeLives are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually. SafeLives are members of the Pathfinder consortium.



Imkaan is a UK-based, Black feminist organisation. We are the only national second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls i.e. women and girls which are defined in policy terms as Black and ‘Minority Ethnic’ (BME). The organisation holds nearly two decades of experience of working around issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence.

They work at local, national and international level, and in partnership with a range of organisations, to improve policy and practice responses to Black and minoritised women and girls. Imkaan works with it’s members to represent the expertise and perspectives of frontline, specialist and dedicated Black and minoritised women’s organisations that work to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. Imkaan delivers a unique package of support which includes: quality assurance; accredited training and peer education; sustainability support to frontline Black and minoritised organisations; and facilitation of space for community engagement and development. They are a part of the Pathfinder Consortium.


The University of Bristol CAPC
The University of Bristol CAPC
The University of Bristol CAPC

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research.  It is part of Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching.

A dedicated team of researchers at the Centre work on domestic abuse projects and IRISi is a co-collaborator and partner on some of these projects including ReProvide, HERA and DRiDVA.

The Health Foundation
The Health Foundation
The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. The Health Foundation’s Exploring Social Franchising programme aims to generate a deeper understanding of the potential of social franchising models for scaling effective health and social care interventions within the NHS.

We are one of four project teams participating in the programme to develop a social franchise to enable the sustainable spread of our intervention, the IRIS Programme. We receive funding and support from the Health Foundation, including technical expertise on social franchising, and attend programme learning events. The Health Foundation has also commissioned a programme-wide evaluation to support understanding of the use of social franchising in the UK health and care system. We and our franchisees will support the evaluation through co-designing data collection requirements, providing access to data as requested, hosting site visits and attending learning events.



Standing Together Against Domestic Violence is a UK charity bringing communities together to end domestic abuse. They bring local services together to keep people safe

Most public services weren’t designed with domestic abuse in mind, and they often struggle to keep people safe. Poor communication and gaps between services put survivors at risk.

STADV aim to end domestic abuse by changing the way that local services respond to it. They do this through an approach that they pioneered, called the Coordinated Community Response. The Coordinated Community Response brings services together to ensure local systems truly keep survivors safe, hold abusers to account, and prevent domestic abuse.

Their model of a coordinated local partnership to tackle and ultimately prevent domestic violence is now widely accepted as best practice. They are also a part of the Pathfinder consortium.


Spring Impact
Spring Impact
Spring Impact

Spring Impact is a not-for-profit social enterprise born out of the frustration of seeing social organisations constantly reinventing the wheel and wasting scarce resources. Spring Impact uses a combination of tested commercial and social principles and extensive practical expertise to support organisations to identify, design and implement the right social replication model to scale their social impact.

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