IRISi is a social enterprise established to promote and improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence. Our staff team is wholly composed of women and one of our main missions is to enable clinicians to identify women who are being affected by Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA).
International Women’s Day couldn’t be more representative for us.
As women, we are all part of something bigger. As women, we are all working together running the IRIS Programme (among so many other things). And to keep it running, we all need to do our bit, to collaborate with our peers, intertwining our lives and goals even if we don’t actually know each other sometimes.
That’s why we decided to celebrate International Women’s Day with the campaign “IRIS, the big picture” – creating a moment to put together each of our lives and experiences to build up our (lovely and loving) big picture.
Below, you will be introduced to some of the brilliant pieces of our picture and their responses to one question:
As a woman working to address Violence Against Women and Girls, what do you believe your part is?
“I believe we all have a part to play in addressing this huge problem we have in our society. My role is to support women and girls who have experienced abuse to make informed choices from a place of autonomy, so that they can move on with their lives, free from abuse.”
Francesca, IRIS Advocate Educator
“I believe my part is to challenge stereotypes and to educate at every opportunity about Violence Against Women and Girls.”
Hayley, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is to empower women to know that they don’t have to accept abuse.”
Catherine, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is driving forwards to create change to the status quo. To know that I have had some small part in making the lives of women and girls better.”
Shim, Programme and Contract Manager
“My part to is to provide the evidence of value and effectiveness of IRIS based numbers.”
Estela, Data Scientist
“My part is to wholeheartedly use my skills and energies to their best effects, in a role that brings positive change to the maximum number of women and girls. When bringing positive change to the maximum number means working in a role that is distant from front line, hands on support, my part is and must also be to maintain a connection with and understanding of the real, life-changing impacts of advocacy and support.”
Lucy, Project Lead for Social Franchising
“My motivation for this work is that I truly believe that many women do not know what domestic abuse/violence is or looks like. An important component of my role is to empower with education for both professionals and patients so changes can be made.”
Leah, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is to give a voice to victims.”
Vikki, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is:
• To work with the team at IRISi to ensure that the services and programmes we offer and run are the best they can be for all our stakeholders.
• To listen to victims and survivors to ensure that all our work is focussed on what they need from their health care providers and offered in the most accessible way.
• To support our colleagues in health care to understand VAWG and how best to respond to the patients they see who are affected.
• To work collaboratively with colleagues in the VAWG sector to improve services and support.
• To lobby government, decision makers and commissioners to improve policy, strategy and systems relating to VAWG.”
Medina, Chief Executive
“I believe my part in this is to promote a better awareness and understanding of how domestic abuse is presenting within health settings and the rippling effect this has not only in the index victim but also the entire family. I’d say my role is to ‘promote’ IRIS to increase its visibility.”
Saral, Clinical Lead
“My part is to listen to the experiences of women and girls and keep them at the heart of VAWG work. To work collaboratively with other women within the sector to raise the profile of DVA, ensure that women’s voices are amplified and that resources are allocated to ending gender-based violence. To enable the expansion of good quality, evidence-based interventions which improve access to support for women and girls.”
Ellie, Development Manager for Social Franchising
“I believe my part is to educate, inform, support and empower as well as to listen, show empathy and challenge where needed.”
Randip, IRIS Advocate Educator
“As a woman working to address violence against women and girls my part is to listen, believe survivors, provide safe spaces. To advocate on their behalf, to educate and break the silence of violence against women. To campaign for women’s rights and funding to end violence towards women and girls.”
Liz, IRIS Advocate Educator
“I believe in equality and that every woman and child has the right to be free from domestic violence and to be able to advise and empower the women that I support so that they can be safe, happy, have increased knowledge about domestic violence and abuse and feel empowered and look forward to their future.”
Parnaz, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is to raise awareness of the inequalities, violence and abuse that women and girls face and the impact this has. To advocate for action to address the inequalities and abuse they experience. To continue to learn and grow my knowledge of this topic and continually understand what I can do better.”
Melanie, Regional Manager
“I believe my part is to educate health professionals who have a unique position in contact with many women in the community in a trusted role. To assist health professionals to identify women and girls at risk of harm and support them to recognise and respond to domestic abuse, and “bridge the gap” between Health and specialist domestic abuse services. As an advocate I am here to validate experiences, empower women and advocate for them in a needs lead way, at a pace that is comfortable and in a way that is empowering and keeps them at the heart of everything we do.”
Leanne, IRIS Advocate Educator
“My part is to put all those parts together in a way that every single woman who belongs to our network can feel that they are pieces of IRIS, the big picture – and #EveryPieceMatters. We need to keep motivating ourselves so we can work together to create a world in which gender-based violence is consistently recognised and addressed as a health issue.”
Geisa, Comms and Marketing manager
IRIS, the big picture is not composed exclusively of professionals. In fact, it exists to support women, and each one of these women is an equally big part of our big picture. Their pieces also matter:
“You have been excellent! More than excellent! I am so grateful. You are god sent. You motivated me and guide me. You gave me hope. You took the fear out of me.”
IRIS Service User
“The IRIS AE was brilliant, so lovely and she really listened, and she has kept in touch and made me feel that I wasn’t just a box to be ticked. Having someone validate that what I was dealing with wasn’t in my imagination and just me not coping, it really was brilliant. I felt quite embarrassed as I wasn’t being physically abused, she validated that this was still emotional abuse which was very helpful.”
IRIS Service User
“You have given me hope, direction, belief and the courage to look ahead to a new me.”
IRIS Service User