The IRISi team welcomes Llamau, our new social franchise partner organisation. Together, we will be delivering the IRIS Programme to general practices in Gwent starting in March 2021. While this work gets underway, Head of Service Delivery and Quality Assurance at Llamau, Nicola Fitzpatrick, explains why it is so important to bring a Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) training programme for clinicians and access to specialist advocacy for patients to the local area:
“In the first 3 quarters of 2020/21 alone, Llamau have provided direct 1:1 support in Gwent to 901 adults in the community, 211 Children and Young People and provided refuge to 83 families. We have also provided awareness raising sessions and group work to 1032 adults and children. Gwent Police have an average of 140 DA crimes recorded each week, with police notifications of average 218 per week. This is only Police data, so victims who haven’t had police contact aren’t recorded in this. There’s an average number of 110 cases of high-risk DA discussed at the MARAC meetings in Gwent, a rise of nearly 30% from the previous year”.
How or when did you first learn about the IRIS programme?
LLamau have been aware of the programme for a number of years, and have seen the impact it has had in other regions of Wales. We contacted IRISi in 2019 and requested to apply as partners for the Gwent region, after an internal review highlighted a significant gap in referrals for support from colleagues in GP practices, despite being aware general practices are one of the key places victims of domestic abuse present.
Why and how do you believe that the IRIS programme will help you to improve the response to domestic violence and abuse?
The IRIS programme has evidence based improved outcomes of impact in other areas. Seeing the referrals from GP practices to specialist support provision, alongside raising their awareness, understanding and response to domestic abuse will only benefit the response to victims of abuse. Evidence states that victims present to up to 5 professionals before receiving the support they need. Reducing this number is a key priority for us in Gwent, and providing a frontline service such as health with the confidence and resources to respond/raise their concerns effectively will only enhance the response to DA in Gwent.
How was the process of obtaining funding for the IRIS programme? What were the obstacles and enablers in the process?
We have been working tirelessly to obtain funds for the service. Barriers are limited budget availability, competing priorities from a regional and national level and the overreliance on the voluntary sector to secure grant funds to deliver what should be core services to create a holistic support package. In addition, COVID has exacerbated the pressures on primary health care. However, through this time, disclosures and referrals to specialist provision have increased significantly. Funding to the sector, however, although increased to meet demand is only ever short term.
We have been fortunate in Gwent that the buy in to IRIS has come directly through local Neighbourhood Care Networks (NCNs). They have also acknowledged the need to work more holistically and proactively with the increased demand, and made it a regional priority to address the impact of domestic abuse in their communities. COVID has created a platform of highlighted awareness of the issue, and the NCN areas made a commitment to work in partnership with IRISi and Llamau to address it.
For how long have you been wanting to bring the IRIS programme to Gwent? What are your expectations?
We have been working since the summer of 2019 to bring this to Gwent, so for it to finally begin is so well received and exciting. We hope the programme will ensure victims of abuse presenting to health, even those who present with underlying issues requiring exploration, will receive the specialist support they require. In addition, by training and developing the understanding of the signs and impact within a health setting, the impact will reach out further. With each person feeling more informed and confident to address domestic abuse, we are creating an environment where abuse is identified and addressed at first contact. This awareness will naturally ripple out in to the wider community, creating a safer environment for all.
If you are a clinician or a commissioner and you believe the IRIS Programme can benefit your primary care response to Domestic Violence and Abuse, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRISi and Social Franchising
IRISi is expanding the IRIS Network using the concept of social franchising. Social franchising is when an organisation (IRISi) packages up a proven model (the IRIS Programme) and provides carefully recruited partners (the IRIS Partners that form the IRIS Network) with the training and ongoing support they need to implement the programme and replicate the social impact.
IRISi is inviting new IRIS Partners to work with us to deliver the IRIS Programme. We are seeking specialist DVA/VAWG/GBV organisations that share our vision and values. We have written a short Partner Prospectus aimed at Chief Executives and service managers who are interested in delivering the IRIS Programme. The IRIS Partner Prospectus includes information about the need for the IRIS Programme, the IRIS model and the difference that it makes, what we ask for from IRIS Partners and what we provide in return, and information about next steps for those who are interested in becoming IRIS Partners.
A Commissioner Prospectus is also available for commissioners who are interested in commissioning the IRIS Programme in their area. The Commissioner Prospectus does not replace the IRIS Commissioning Guidance; it provides a concise overview of commissioning the IRIS Programme within the social franchise framework.
Please contact us for a copy of the IRIS Partner Prospectus or the IRIS Commissioner Prospectus.