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The IRISi team welcomes My Sisters Place, our new social franchise partner organisation. Together, we will be delivering the IRIS Programme to general practices in Middlesbrough starting in January 2021. While this work gets underway, Chief Officer at My Sisters Place, Michelle O’Rourke, 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.

How or when did you first learn about the IRIS programme?

My Sisters Place first learned about IRIS back in 2014 and we were really excited by the prospect of engaging in a meaningful way with GPs and in health settings.

Why and how do you believe that the IRIS programme will help you to improve the response to domestic violence and abuse?

Middlesbrough has a high level of need with regards to health outcomes, poverty, and life expectancy.  Life expectancy for both men and women is lower than the England average (Public Health JSNA 2015). Cleveland Police report the second highest incident rate in the country (by force area) with Middlesbrough being the area of greatest need (JSNA 2017) and domestic violence the single highest cause of homelessness in the area.  Domestic violence is present in over 85% of child protection cases.

My Sisters Place receives over 50% of our referrals from the police and often risk is assessed as High with referrals being made into MARAC where early opportunities to ask the question and identify abuse could have supported women into specialist services at a much earlier opportunity. Lessons have been learned locally from domestic homicide reviews and we believe IRIS provides a response which would enable us to see a step-change in the way health settings respond to domestic abuse providing a trauma-informed response at the earliest opportunity.

During the national lockdown in March, it became apparent that GPs and colleagues from health care settings in regular contact with women were becoming more alert to and concerned for women within the home. We feel that during this time projects such as IRIS are key to ensuring there is clear messaging and good enquiry with regards to domestic abuse.

How was the process to obtain funding for the IRIS programme? What were the obstacles and enablers in the process?

We were fortunate to be funded via the Big Night In fund via Women’s Aid to progress the IRIS project and received support from a range of partners within the Community Safety Partnership. The partnership recognised the need to respond to identified gaps, improve early intervention, and join up the health and criminal justice responses to achieve better outcomes for victims. The recognition of the importance of this approach made the process of buy in for the project much simpler however the impact of COVID-19 and other demands on services and funders meant that there were challenges in matching the funds needed. The collective support of the partnership and grant funds to match this enabled us to come to together to find a way forward in establishing IRIS for Middlesbrough and we are looking forward to building those relationships as the project develops. 

For how long have you been wanting to bring the IRIS programme to Middlesbrough? What are your expectations?

We have wanted to bring IRIS to Middlesbrough for some time and first looked to implement the programme in 2014 and again in 2017. Our expectations are perhaps changing with the ever-changing environment in which we are currently operating. We expect to improve partnership working with GP practices, increase access to support at the earliest opportunity by providing a clear pathway for GPs to refer to specialist services and increase knowledge and awareness within GP practices. This will increase the recognition of domestic violence as a health issue.


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. 

Related Articles

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.

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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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