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.