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London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has made significant strides in its mission to address domestic abuse through a public health approach by funding the IRIS programme in six new boroughs. In Havering, IRIS is delivered in partnership with Aanchal; in Merton and Wandsworth, with Refuge; in Harrow and Hillingdon, with Advance and AWRC; and in Sutton, with Sutton Women’s Centre. This initiative underscores the VRU’s unwavering commitment to evidence-based strategies and early intervention approaches aimed at tackling violence against women and girls.

An essential catalyst for this expansion is the VRU’s trust in IRISi, the organisation behind the IRIS programme, which has already demonstrated success with the implementation of the 7B and 4B programmes. IRISi is recognised as a pioneer in developing and delivering initiatives addressing domestic abuse within healthcare settings.

Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, emphasises the unit’s commitment to prevention and early intervention. She states, “Our continued support and investment will provide vital support for healthcare practitioners to offer support for those affected by domestic abuse in these six additional London boroughs. Our partnership with the healthcare sector and domestic abuse specialists highlights that by working together, we can prevent violence against women and girls”.

Caroline Dart, Senior Manager at London’s Violence Reduction Unit, underscores the crucial role of healthcare professionals in supporting survivors. She explains, “Healthcare staff see millions of patients every single day and have a unique opportunity to ensure that survivors understand their rights to get the support they need and deserve. Survivors can access much-needed practical and emotional support through a direct referral pathway into specialist Domestic Abuse services so that patients can access ongoing support in their communities”.

Medina Johnson, CEO at IRISi, highlights the significance of the partnership with London’s VRU, stating, ” We’re delighted to continue our partnership with London’s VRU. As the only evidence-based initiative for general practices with proven success rates of referral and outcomes for patients, this expansion will further strengthen our ability to support survivors and prevent domestic abuse in these six additional areas”.

Working side by side with the local, specialist domestic abuse services

Jacqueline Messam, Refuge’s IRIS Service Manager, highlights the importance of creating awareness and providing support within local communities. She notes, “It is great that IRIS is now be available in Wandsworth and Merton, we have already partnered with local professionals who are supporting us to link  in with local GP services. Wandsworth has a population of around 327,500 residents with 39 surgeries; in 2022 there were 2,800 domestic abuse incidents within the borough. Merton has a population of around 214,071 residents with 21 surgeries and domestic abuse accounts for 13.6% of all recorded crime in this borough. Implementing the IRIS programme within Wandsworth and Merton will provide opportunities to create awareness of the prevalence of DA in the local area as well as educate and support GP surgeries to further support those impacted by DA”.

Colette Taylor of Aanchal emphasises the urgent need for intervention in Havering, where reported domestic abuse incidents are high. She states, “Local data highlights a concerning trend, with one ward in the borough ranking highest in London for reported domestic abuse incidents over a year-long period (December ’22 to November ’23). This stresses the urgent need for intervention, and Havering is fully committed to embracing the IRIS programme. Drawing from our experiences running the programme in another London borough, we anticipate increased engagement from GPs and practices. This will improve connections and help bridge response gaps. We believe this programme will be instrumental in identifying domestic abuse and ensuring people get the help they need earlier in their journey. Additionally, patients who have been identified with long-term trauma from historical abuse will also receive support and resources to help in their recovery.”

In Harrow and Hillingdon, Krishna Tailor-Lodhi, Advance’s Implementation Manager, expresses excitement about expanding the IRIS Programme. She says, “We’re excited to be involved in expanding the programme and embedding this great service to help support primary care professionals to identify domestic abuse, and ensuring we can have integrated referral pathways. Having dedicated Advocate Educators means we can support with bridging the gap from the point of referral to ensuring that the victim/survivor receives the most appropriate support.”.

Carol Glover, Head of Communications & External Affairs at Advance said: “Enabling primary care professionals to identify domestic abuse and direct victims/survivors to expert integrated help is a fantastic example of primary care at its most responsive to a complex and sensitive issue. Advance believes GPs are an essential part of the coordinated community response needed to tackle domestic abuse and turn the dial.”

Heather Smiles, from Sutton Women’s Centre, remarked, “To be building on our existing relationships with local GPs to tackle this issue will have huge benefits to the local community.”

The launch of the 6B programme marks a significant milestone in London’s ongoing efforts to tackle domestic abuse. By expanding the evidence-based IRIS programme into six new boroughs, the VRU is taking proactive steps to empower communities, support survivors, and ultimately prevent violence against women and girls.

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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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