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IRISi decided to run a piece of rapid research to address a concern from commissioners and service providers around the lack of evidence in terms of acceptability and effectiveness of the IRIS programme under new remote ways of working. This is what we found!

IRIS is a programme of training and support to improve the response to domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in general practice, which has been proven effective and cost-effective and is commissioned across areas of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland. The IRIS model is delivered by IRISi, a not-for-profit organisation that also provides areas with training package, updates to the training, and support.

The imposition of a national lockdown in the UK in March 2020, and the need for social distancing thereafter, meant that the IRIS programme needed to move swiftly to provide remote training to primary care professionals and find new ways of providing services to IRIS service users. It also meant that the IRIS training sessions had to be rewritten to focus on training clinicians to safely identify, ask about and respond to DVA during telephone and online consultations.

Due to all those changes, IRISi decided to run a piece of rapid research to address a concern from commissioners and service providers around the lack of evidence in terms acceptability and effectiveness of the IRIS programme under new remote ways of working. We have explored the perceptions of the value of the IRIS programme under new ways of working, the acceptability and desirability of remote support to service users and the acceptability and desirability of online training for primary care clinicians.

In order to do this, we ran four surveys and carried out 15 interviews between June and August 2020. We designed the research using the Lean Impact approach, and analysed the data using a framework analysis. The full report can be found at the end of this article alongside a booklet we also produced to summarise all findings.

Rapid Research Highlights

  • The relevance of the IRIS programme has increased as a result of COVID-19 for three reasons: (1) an increased reporting and prevalence of domestic abuse, as a result of lockdown and social distancing; (2) the quick response in the adaptation of training and advocacy support to remote or online by IRISi and the local IRIS teams; and (3) the fact that the usual routes to support are more difficult to reach or access or no longer available.
  • All clinical leads and most clinicians feel at least as confident working over the phone and online, as compared to face-to-face, and that while there was an initial decline in referrals in March 2020, the level of referrals was back to pre-COVID levels by July 2020.
  • Service users felt well supported remotely and attributed their good outcomes to the increased communication with AEs, and the speed of their response. Nearly two-thirds of AEs started offering new forms of support, including text and WhatsApp messaging, as a response to social distancing restrictions.⠀
  • The flexibility of the programme and the responsiveness of IRISi and AEs, both in terms of increased frequency of communications as well as quicker responses, were considered the most important enablers of change.⠀
  • The availability of new forms of support and the ability to train clinicians from different practices jointly and with increased frequency were considered the main benefits of the IRIS online and remote programme.
  • “The learning and benefits of the COVID adaptations will be considered when we are able to resume face to face work and we expect to initially run a blended version of the programme.”, explains Medina Johnson, CEO at IRISi.

>>> Click here to read our Rapid Research Report in full.

>>> Click here to read our Rapid Research Booklet.

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

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Partners

AVA
AVA
AVA

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

https://avaproject.org.uk

SafeLives
SafeLives
SafeLives

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.

http://www.safelives.org.uk/about-us

IMKAAN
IMKAAN
IMKAAN

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.

https://www.imkaan.org.uk

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.

https://www.health.org.uk

STADV
STADV
STADV

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.

http://www.standingtogether.org.uk

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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