IRISi is pleased to share the findings of our collaborative research with the University of Bristol, evaluating the IRIS+ domestic abuse programme. The recently published study, available for full reading here, has shown promising feasibility and potential cost-effectiveness. This may mark a significant advancement in addressing the broader spectrum of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) affecting men, children and young people through primary care.
IRIS+ builds upon the successful IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) model, renowned for its effectiveness in identifying and supporting women affected by domestic abuse. Recognising a gap in the identification and referral processes for men, children, and young people, researchers from Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care, in collaboration with IRISi and DVA agencies, have developed and rigorously tested the IRIS+ intervention to address this crucial need.
Outlined below are key findings from the recently published study:
- The study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, showcased the successful identification and direct referral of 44 children and young people (15% of total 300 referrals), 29 men (mostly survivors, 10% of total referrals) and 227 women (75% of total referrals).
- The referral rate for women doubled from the rate in the original IRIS trial (21.6 referrals/year/IRIS+ practice, compared to 9.29 referrals/year/IRIS practice), indicating that the added intervention components on men and children heightened clinicians’ alertness for DVA without weakening responses to women.
- Over two-thirds of referred women and children and young people, and almost half of all referred men, received direct support from the service. The study demonstrated health and quality of life benefits for men and children supported by IRIS+.
An economic model suggested that IRIS+ is likely to be cost-effective or even cost-saving from a societal perspective.
Researchers employed mixed methods to assess the feasibility of the intervention in two urban areas in England and Wales, encompassing a mixture of IRIS-trained and non-IRIS-trained general practices. This included before-and-after intervention questionnaires, data extraction from medical records and DVA agencies, and semi-structured interviews with clinicians and patients.
Dr Eszter Szilassy, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care and study lead, emphasised, “Domestic abuse affects nine million adults in England and Wales, with societal costs exceeding £66 billion annually. Our findings show that primary care is well-placed to provide a pathway for specialist support to all patients affected by DVA. The next step involves exploring the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of IRIS+ on a larger scale.”
Medina Johnson, CEO at IRISi, added, “Domestic violence and abuse is a gendered issue but recognising the significance of responding comprehensively to all those impacted – be they victims/survivors or perpetrators – we acknowledge the crucial role of our health system in providing support. By expanding and improving programmes and responses within healthcare to encompass men and children, we strive to aid everyone affected, contributing to the collective effort for a safer society for all.”
The IRIS+ Study was part of the REPROVIDE (Reaching Everyone Programme of Research On Violence in diverse Domestic Environments) programme, an independent research initiative funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.
Watch the space to find out more about IRIS+.