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#EveryPieceMatters: an IRISi campaign for the International Women’s Day 2021

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

Related Articles

Find your nearest IRIS site

The IRIS Programme provides specialist advocacy and support to patients registered at IRIS-trained practices who have experienced domestic abuse.

Find your IRIS site



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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