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The IRISi team welcomes SATEDA, our new social franchise partner organisation. Together, we will be delivering the IRIS Programme to general practices in Swale starting in September 2021. While this work gets underway, former CEO at SATEDA, Dr. Liza Thompson, explains why it is so important to bring a Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) training programme to clinicians and access to specialist advocacy to patients to the local area:

The reason why we’re so keen to have IRIS in Swale is because some of the health inequalities in the area are quite vast. We have very affluent areas and areas of very high deprivation and where that’s most recognised is in health inequalities. So, we believe that Swale is a really good area to have a pilot for Kent of the IRIS programme and see what difference it will make to the health inequalities, but also to the number of referrals that we receive into SATEDA from GP surgeries”.

Read the full interview below.

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

I first heard about the IRIS programme when I was at a conference and I met Medina Johnson, CEO at IRISi, and I was just blown away by the idea behind it. Such a simple concept around training up and up-skilling health professionals. We’ve been waiting to have IRIS in Swale since then, for about 6 or 7 years. It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. Ultimately, we want to be able to reach more victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse so we believe that using the IRIS programme we will be able to do that.

One of the main elements of the IRIS programme is the training that is provided to GP practices, and we believe that DVA is everybody’s business. Everybody should be responding to DVA when they see that there’s a problem. And by up-skilling our GP practices, from receptionists and nurses through to GPs, we believe that victims are more likely to feel comfortable to disclose and they will be confident to know that there will be a referral made over to SATEDA where they will get support, with our journey of support.

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

The reason why we’re so keen to have IRIS in Swale is because some of the health inequalities in the area are quite vast. We have very affluent areas and areas of very high deprivation and where that’s most recognised is in health inequalities. So, we believe that Swale is a really good area to have a pilot for Kent of the IRIS programme and see what difference it will make to the health inequalities, but also to the number of referrals that we receive into SATEDA from GP surgeries.

We know from Domestic Homicide Reviews that often survivors have spoken to their GPs and GPs don’t have the equipment to be able to deal with disclosures. Sometimes they may even have recorded that somebody has been subjected to abuse but have not really done anything with that information and then, unfortunately, the victim has been murdered. So I think it’s vital that the health professionals are upskilled.

How was the process of obtaining funding for the IRIS programme? What were the obstacles and enablers in the process?

Thanks to grant funding from the Tudor Trust, we are now able to launch the Swale IRIS pilot. The Tudor Trust have funded SATEDA over the years for other innovative projects that we’ve put in place. They are a very forward-thinking innovative funder and they have funded the IRIS pilot in Swale with a view really to us being able to help other providers across Kent to learn the impacts of the IRIS programme. Our vision is that we will have an IRIS programme across Kent and Medway, and we would like to think that this pilot will be the impetus for that to happen.

To be very honest, the process to secure funding has been a long hard slog. Generally, the PCC or the council or the CCG are the ones commissioning the IRIS programme so it’s sort of provided in a very different way from how we are funded. We had to secure the funding ourselves. However, I was very keen to lead the way in securing the funding as a small, specialist women’s service and take control of that whole narrative to ensure that the delivery of the programme is how it should be to support victims of DVA.

In order to do that, SATEDA went through the process of becoming a social franchise partner of IRIS, in which we were accepted to become one of the first organisations to be able to deliver the IRIS programme on “behalf” of IRISi. We’re proud of that because it is a testament to the fact that we are a specialist service and IRISi, who we hold in very high esteem, believe us to be an organisation that is worthy of delivering their model.

Could you tell us a little more about the work developed by SATEDA?

SATEDA is a charity that was established in 2009 and we predominantly serve the district of Swale. Some of the services we provide are pan-Kent. However, the IRIS programme is going to be a pilot that sits within Swale.

We offer a whole journey of support, through crisis intervention, ongoing emotional support and counselling, and very practical support around housing and benefits. We also support children who are affected by DVA, and we have a whole range of group deliveries for survivors tailored to really meet their needs. We believe that one size doesn’t fit all.

One of the things that sets us apart as an organisation is that when our clients are ready to become a volunteer, we offer them a volunteering package of support around their personal and professional development with a view potentially to them accessing the workplace. Some women that we’ve supported have never been to work because of the abuse that they’ve been subjected to. We help them to feel ready to go out and seek employment. In fact, one of the things that I’m proud of is the fact that a large majority of our staff members have come through that programme and are survivors of domestic abuse. In that, way SATEDA is for survivors and delivered by survivors.

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.

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 at info@irisi.org.

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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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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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