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In February 2017, the IRIS Programme was going from strength to strength, so we decided it was about time to take a step further. IRISi was born then, as the social enterprise responsible for officially sustaining and expanding the rollout of the successful intervention which had already been running across the UK for seven years or so. Through the IRIS Programme, more and more general practice clinicians and staff were gaining knowledge about Domestic Abuse (DA) and learning how to identify and respond to patients affected. Consequently, more and more specialist third-sector organisations were coming on board to collaborate in partnership with us in the delivery of the intervention, resulting in an incredible amount of service users – especially women – being supported through the programme. But our mission and vision at IRISi were always to go further. We set out our aim to promote and improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence across the health system.

Six years have passed since IRISi became reality, and, within this period, we managed to work in partnership and bring IRIS to many more areas. In 2021, we also launched ADViSE, which adapted the IRIS Programme for sexual health settings, and it is already running in Greater Manchester, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Work is also underway to bring two ADViSE programmes to London. Our next steps will include focusing on Dentistry and Pharmacy settings, to develop evidence-based and cost-effective models on again improving the identification and response to Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse (D&SVA) by healthcare professionals.

The growth of our team at IRISi and our interventions became possible thanks to everyone directly and indirectly involved. Commissioners, Specialist Partner Organisations, Advocate Educators, Clinical Leads and the IRISi team itself are essential to enable the great results obtained over time. This is especially true when it comes to the main reason why we do what we do: supporting service users, victims and survivors of D&SVA. So, on our 6th anniversary, we invited six people to share their voices and their experience of working with us at IRISi and our interventions – and here they are.

Dr Heather Potter

IRIS Clinical Lead in Port Talbot at the Cwmavon Health Centre

“I have been a GP for 34 years in a deprived area in Swansea Bay, maintained by the University Health Board (UHB) of South Wales. When I was asked if I would head up the IRIS Pilot in my area, I knew it was going to be a great project. Firstly, I was aware of Domestic Abuse (DA), but I did not know how prevalent it was or how it affected all the socio-economic and ethnic and minority groups I was seeing. I was also unaware of how GPs, and their medical and reception teams were so well placed to help often desperate women get the support they needed. IRIS is a special intervention as it teaches whole practice teams the skills to recognise, and how to ask and get help for DA from a dedicated support worker affiliated to the practice. In the 3 years we have delivered the training, we have seen a surge in referrals for DA support. It has reduced consultation rates in practice but, best of all, I know the referred service users are getting the help they really need. It makes you feel good about being a GP again.”

Nabeela Hussain

Operations Manager & Manchester Women’s Aid Health Lead – IRIS Manchester, IRIS Safe in Salford, MiDASS and ADViSE

“The Pankhurst Centre Manchester Women’s Aid (PTMWA) feels privileged to be a partner with IRISi. As the largest provider of health services since 2012, IRIS Manchester, IRIS Salford and ADViSE, we have been working in partnership with IRISi and their proven track record in delivering successful evidence-based DA interventions in primary care, which has been instrumental to our service delivery. Our joint mission is to improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence through health and specialist services working together, therefore, we are building a network of specialist partners who share our vision and have the drive to create sustainable change. IRISi has been an immense support to us, and we look forward to continuing working together.”

Jayne Element

IRIS Advocate Educator at Black Country Women’s Aid

“IRIS is fantastic because it builds a bridge between the effects of DA and the impact of that on a patient’s health. IRIS helps all of the staff in a GP practice to be better at recognising DA, getting help for their patients, and being able to direct NHS resources effectively. We can help the patient deals with the root cause and support them to have improved safety, health, and wellbeing. It’s amazing to see the difference made in someone’s life”.

Lib Peck

Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU)

“London’s Violence Reduction Unit is proud to support the work of IRISi. We recognise its innovative and established training programme that equips professionals working to support those when they need it most. We appreciate the passion and partnerships IRISi creates in its mission. And most importantly, we value its support of survivors and the long-lasting transformational change it continues to make in vulnerable lives.”

 Daphne Amevenu,

Chair of the IRISi Board

“My relationship with IRISi started whilst I was at the Health Foundation working as a Programme Manager and later Head of Improvement Programmes, and I had the chance to see that they were doing something incredibly important. I was impressed by their practical and impactful approach to tackling Domestic Abuse (DA) through GP appointments, a touch point that most people will have, especially victims and survivors of DA, to make sure that they can get the best support available. IRISi is still in the early stages of its organisational journey and growth. I think this creates space to think, where appropriate and necessary, on how to professionalise and bring in new processes and procedures whilst keeping the heart of IRISi as a social-based organisation”.

Service User

“This has been a liberating journey, from wondering what I had experienced after talking with my clinician to fully understanding the type of abuse that I had been experiencing for YEARS. This has been the best service.”

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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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