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    Staff Members

    Medina Johnson

    Chief Executive

    Medina Johnson

    Chief Executive

    Medina has worked in the domestic violence and abuse sector for 15 years. She has worked on IRIS since 2007 and was one of the original two IRIS Advocate Educators before becoming one of the National Implementation Managers for the project in 2010.  She holds an honorary contract with Bristol University and is a collaborator on a number of academic research projects including ReProvide and DRiDVA. She is passionate to improve the healthcare response to gender violence and to improve the associated care pathways and support for women affected.

    In 2017, Medina was part of the team that set up and established IRISi.

    Medina’s background is in education and training and she has worked as a secondary school teacher, regional trainer for a large national charity, managed a project for single homeless people, and managed a resettlement service for women in housing need with mental health problems.   She has an MA in European Business Management

    Outside work, Medina is Chair of a small UK charity supporting a children’s home in Kenya and visits her African family each year. She is also a trustee of Women’s Adventure Expo, a pioneering social enterprise celebrating, inspiring and empowering women in adventure and exploration.

    Medina lives in Monmouthshire and enjoys spending time in the garden with her hens and bees.

    Annie Howell

    IRISi Development Director and Deputy CE

    Annie Howell

    IRISi Development Director and Deputy CE

    Annie Howell is Development Director and Deputy CE at IRISi. Annie is passionate to improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence, ultimately giving all survivors access to support.

    Annie has worked in the domestic violence and abuse sector for 17 years. Her experience began in Sydney, Australia, where she worked for the Attorney Generals Government. During this time Annie worked in various roles including case supervisor for survivors of domestic violence, case manager for family members of homicide victims and subsequently working as a telephone counsellor on the victim support helpline, New South Wales.

    On returning to the UK Annie worked for the LGBT charity Galop before she started work at nia in 2007 as part of the IRIS research team. She was one of the original two IRIS Advocate Educators before becoming one of the National Implementation Managers for the project in 2010. The focus at this time was to implement IRIS as a commissionable model nationally. Annie co-founded IRISi in 2017.

    Annie is also a qualified Chair of Independent Domestic Homicide Reviews. She has a BA (Hons) in Criminology. Annie lives in Twickenham and enjoys spending time with her husband, three young daughters and dog. She enjoys battling gender stereotypes, whether it be at the school gate or during a night out with friends. Annie has a passion for music and dance, loves cake decorating and enjoys boxing.

    Lucy Downes

    IRIS Network Director

    Lucy Downes

    IRIS Network Director

    Lucy joined the IRISi team in September 2017 as a National Implementation Manager. She was seconded to lead on IRISi’s work to explore whether the concept of social franchising can be used to more easily replicate and spread the IRIS programme to new areas, so more clinicians and more patients can benefit from the successful IRIS service. Lucy’s current role is IRIS Network Director.

    Lucy has worked and volunteered in the gender-based violence sector for thirteen years, including a long period as an advocate-educator for the IRIS service. She has supported many hundreds of women who have experienced domestic abuse. Lucy has seen first-hand the benefits for patients of educating general practice clinicians about domestic abuse, and of establishing a collaborative approach in which primary care and the domestic abuse sector work in partnership to tackle violence and abuse.

    Lucy has an MSc in Public Policy, specialising in gender-based violence, at the University of Bristol, and holds a BA in English Literature and Social Philosophy and Applied Ethics from Cardiff University.

    Sally Harrison

    Senior Support Officer

    Sally Harrison

    Senior Support Officer

    Sally joined IRISi in February 2022 and provides administrative support to IRISi’s Senior Management Team, as well as organising network events.

    Prior to joining IRISi, Sally worked at a women’s mental health charity co-ordinating support and housing for vulnerable women. She has lots of experience working in administrative roles and within the youth service. Sally also volunteers as a Fundraising Administrator for Project MAMA; a charity which offers a free, confidential, and individual-focused holistic support to displaced women throughout pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and those first few weeks of parenthood.

    Sally completed an MSc in International Development at the University of Bristol, taking a particular interest in the impact of conflict on women and children, and holds a BA(Hons) in International Relations at the University of the West of England.

    Outside of work, Sally spends as much time as possible outdoors, hiking, enjoying festivals, reading, eating cake, and going away in her campervan with her partner and daughter.

    Molly Adams

    Support Officer

    Molly Adams

    Support Officer

    Dr Shim Vereker

    Contracts and Programme manager

    Dr Shim Vereker

    Contracts and Programme manager

    Dr Shim Vereker is a programme and change manager with a background in health. Shim joined the IRISi team in January 2020 as Contract and Programme Manager for the IRIS in 7 London Boroughs programme.
    Her first career was in health – she was an NHS Dentist, managing large patient lists of up to 30 patients a day, performing a full range of restorative dentistry such as endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, as well as practising preventive care and oral surgery. She went and worked as a Dentist in Australia in 2011 whilst also fulfilling her love of travelling by visiting New Zealand and many parts of South East Asia. After a successful 13-year career, she retired from dentistry to join Diversity Role Models – an anti-bullying LGBTQ+ children’s charity. Shim has worked as a programme manager in the sector for various organisations since 2017, one of them being Rights of Women.
    Shim holds a BDS Hons [Bachelor of Dental surgery] from The Royal London College of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary’s in London and has qualifications in programme management such as PRINCE2, AGILE Project management and Change management.

    Ellie Vowles

    Business Development Manager

    Ellie Vowles

    Business Development Manager

    Ellie joined IRISi in June 2019 and is working to engage with new partners and develop the IRIS model as a Social Franchise. She has worked and volunteered in the women’s sector for 6 years and has supported the development and growth of several successful women-led projects and events in Bristol. She is passionate about tackling gender based violence as a healthcare issue to ensure that DVA is consistently recognised and survivors receive the care that they deserve. Ellie recently completed an MSc in Gender and International Relations, specialising in gender based violence and security at the University of Bristol and holds a BA in Art and Visual Culture from the University of the West of England.

    Haniya Chaudhary

    Network (IRIS and ADViSE) Development Manager

    Haniya Chaudhary

    Network (IRIS and ADViSE) Development Manager

    Haniya Chaudhary joined IRISi in May 2022. She has a BSc in Applied Criminology & Law from the University of Derby. Experienced in blending soft skills with excellent client-facing qualities, she has six years worth of experience within the field of Safeguarding & Risk management sphere, Training & Educating, Case management & Advocacy. Her diverse professional background has enabled her to gain many transferable skills, ranging from intense casework, seeing safeguarding from a clinical commissioning perspective, assessing and managing risks, implementing and researching legal frameworks, training and educating medical professionals, and a high level of administration skills. Regularly working in partnership with relevant agencies has showcased her ability to build professional relationships.

    Charlotte Chappell

    ADViSE Lead & Senior Regional Manager

    Charlotte Chappell

    ADViSE Lead & Senior Regional Manager

    Charlotte joined the IRISi Team in June 2022 as the ADViSE Lead and Senior Regional Manager. Her main focus is to oversee the implementation and growth of the ADViSE programme. She holds a BSc in Sociology with Politics from the University of Plymouth and is a qualified IDVA. Charlotte comes from managing frontline Domestic Violence Services (Duty Helpline, Crisis IDVA’s, Groupwork) at one of our local partner organisations. Working there for 5 years first as a groupwork coordinator, running groups such as Freedom Programme, Recovery Toolkit and CRUSH, for women and young people, then progressing into managing a staff team of 20 throughout the pandemic, she supported them with complex caseloads, increased needs and competing priorities. Charlotte’s previous work at various charities has consistently entailed working with vulnerable, marginalised, and deprived groups, consequently the value base that drives her centres around social justice and empowerment – a commitment to seeing DVA as a health issue and ending gender-based violence.

    Charlotte has been a Freelance Trainer since 2016 delivering Domestic Abuse and Safeguarding Training to various agencies and charities in the local area. She has volunteered with SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) for many years and now proudly sits on their board. When not working Charlotte can be found mainly at festivals and gigs.

    Mel Goodway

    IRIS Lead & Senior Regional Manager

    Mel Goodway

    IRIS Lead & Senior Regional Manager

    Mel joined the IRISi team in January 2019 as one of our Regional Managers. At present her main focus is supporting all the areas across London who are currently running an IRIS project, as well as supporting any new boroughs who decide to become a part of IRIS. In addition to this she helps run our train the trainer’s sessions throughout the year, training and equipping new IRIS team’s member across the country.

    Mel has previously worked as an Advocate Educator for the IRIS project within both the areas of Bristol and South Gloucestershire. She has front line experience of just how impactful the IRIS project can be and is passionate about seeing this grow and develop across the country. Prior to this Mel worked as a Probation Service Officer in the Magistrates court, assisting with assessing offenders prior to sentencing and supporting the court with their sentencing decisions.

    For many years Mel worked in a voluntary capacity with young people from deprived communities, she has a passion for travelling and has a BA in Drama and English Literature.

    Heather G.A

    Regional Manager

    Heather G.A

    Regional Manager

    Heather has over 15 years of experience in working with survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, with a social housing landlord, within a specialist BAME Women’s Aid organisation and for an Institute of Higher Education. Her background is in Adult Education, Social Services, Social Housing managing housing of high-risk offenders and prevention of homelessness. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life coach and specialise in delivering recovery therapies for survivors of domestic abuse.
    She was the first Advocate Educator for Wales to pioneer the IRIS service in 2014 from a small-scale trial to its current huge scale success and expansion across Wales. She has been involved in voluntary work for 20+ years and recently became the chair of a faith-based charity, committed to interfaith work, community development and education. Her volunteer work, work for marginalised women and work for survivors of domestic abuse were recognised when she received a national award as a women’s champion. Her passion is improving access to support and recovery for survivors of domestic abuse, improving education to prevent harmful behaviours, and improving service delivery for marginalised women who face increased and unfair barriers to support.

    Emma Williamson

    Regional Manager

    Emma Williamson

    Regional Manager

    Emma joined IRISi in May 2022. She is one of our new Regional Managers and joins our team having worked in the Domestic Abuse field for over 25 years. Her work has been primarily as a researcher and lecturer looking at various forms of Gender Based Violence. She volunteered on the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in the early 2000s, and from 2004-2006, worked as the Research and Membership Manager at Women’s Aid England. She was, until recently, a co-editor on the Journal of Gender Based Violence. Her early research, and PhD, focused on Domestic Violence and Health, and she has continued to be part of various consortia looking to improve the health response to domestic violence and abuse.

    In her spare time, Emma likes spending quality time with friends and family and recently moved back to the North to be closer to them.

    Hayley Ferns

    Regional Manager

    Hayley Ferns

    Regional Manager

    Hayley has recently joined the IRISi team as Regional Manager. She has over 10 years’ experience managing a range of services for adult and child victims of domestic abuse, including refuge provision, children and young people services and adult victim services.

    She first started her career in Early Years and was a manager of a Private Day Nursery for several years before moving to the voluntary sector. Hayley qualified as a Therapeutic Play Practitioner in 2016 and has experience of delivering Play Therapy intervention to children and young people living in a refuge.

    Hayley has a passion to raise awareness of gender-based violence and has developed a range of bespoke training packages for a variety of professionals. She especially has a keen interest to provide training and support for health professionals to help them identify the crucial role they play in ending domestic abuse.

    Over the past 5 years Hayley has developed and implemented a health-based project for Dentists and members of the dental team in her local area of North Staffordshire and in 2019 was the project manager for the Health Pathfinder pilot site in this area.

    Outside of work, Hayley volunteers for the Cinnamon Trust which is a UK charity providing support for elderly and terminally ill people with pets. Hayley enjoys the outdoors and when she isn’t volunteering or working you can find her exploring the country side with her Labradoodle, Shelby.

    Katie Smith

    Data Analyst

    Katie Smith

    Data Analyst

    Katie joined IRISi in June 20222 as a part-time Data Analyst. She has worked for the women’s sector for the last seven years in data, research and evaluation roles. Alongside her role at IRISi, Katie is undertaking her PhD at the Violence and Society Centre at City University, looking at patterns of utilisation of domestic violence services. Katie is also a board member of the VAWG Research Network and proud owner of two fluffy dogs.

    Geisa D'avo

    Comms & Marketing Manager

    Geisa D'avo

    Comms & Marketing Manager

    Geisa has a BA in Journalism and is a specialist in Marketing and Communications. She joined IRISi in October 2020 as a marketing and comms manager.

    Board Members

    Donna Covey CBE

    Donna Covey CBE

    Donna has been Director of AVA since December 2014. She started her career in the Trade Union movement, specialising in equality and diversity issues, and spent 10 years as a member of the TUC General Council. She has run a number of third sector organisations, including Asthma UK and the Refugee Council. She has written extensively on health, equality and human rights issues. In 2013 Donna was awarded the CBE for services to equality and human rights.

    Donna is Chair of the IRISi Board, is one of the Directors and was part of the team that set up and established IRISi in 2017.

    Gene Feder OBE

    Gene Feder OBE

    Gene is Professor of Primary Health Care at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol Gene qualified at Guy's Hospital medical school, following a BSc in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Sussex. He trained as a GP and was a principal in Hackney for 21 years until moving to Bristol. His research started with the health and healthcare of Traveller Gypsies, followed by studies on the development and implementation of clinical guidelines, management of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions in primary care and the health impact of domestic violence. Current research focuses on healthcare responses to domestic violence globally. Gene’s methodological expertise is in randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews, collaborating with epidemiologists and social scientists on cohort and qualitative studies respectively. He has chaired four NICE guideline development groups and led the WHO intimate partner violence guidelines. In 2017 was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare and victims of domestic abuse.

    Gene was the principal investigator on the original IRIS trial and has been closely involved with the development of the programme and IRISi ever since. He was also one of the team that set up and established IRISi in 2017 and is a Director.

    Andrew Wilson

    Andrew Wilson

    Andrew is a Senior Research Commercialisation Manager at the University of Bristol and works with academics and clinicians from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences to facilitate the transfer of a range of technologies and healthcare interventions to commercial organisations. This includes licensing and new company creation. Andrew joined University of Bristol from UWE, where he worked in Technology Transfer for 10 years. In the more distant past he was a plant sciences researcher at Bristol.

    Andrew worked with the IRIS team and other stakeholders to create IRISi and is a non-executive director, providing oversight of company activity alongside his fellow directors.

    Jacqueline Gantley

    Jacqueline Gantley

    Jacqueline Gantley is a recently retired GP who worked in central Cardiff for over 30 years. She was appointed as the IRIS Clinical Lead for two areas in South Wales in late 2014. Now, as a Board Member of IRISi, she will help to build on and sustain the already very successful rollout of the IRIS Programme.

    Daphne Amevenu

    Daphne Amevenu

    Daphne Amevenu has previous experience of working with IRISi and the IRIS Programme, since she used to work at the Health Foundation who supported the development of our social franchise programme of work. With extensive experience in bringing innovative solutions to the healthcare sector, Daphne is interested in mainstreaming diversity and inclusion across her work and has run various initiatives throughout her career to enable this. She will support IRISi's mission by sharing her knowledge of the changes in primary care in England to support the broader uptake of the IRIS intervention.

    Testimonial

    Author

    What's the latest from IRISi

    24.11.2022
    Is it worth investing in the IRIS Programme? New research concludes “the value of IRIS extends far beyond increasing referrals to Domestic Abuse services or improving service users’ lives”

    Is it worth investing in the IRIS Programme? New research concludes “the value of IRIS extends far beyond increasing referrals to Domestic Abuse services or improving service users’ lives”

    For each pound invested in the IRIS Programme, a monetary return of £16.79 is expected. For each pound invested in the IRIS Programme, a social return of £10.71 was obtained.

    Read more
    18.11.2022
    In 2022, we celebrated our 5th anniversary. For this reason, from 25th of November to 10th of December, IRISi's "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" campaign will be themed "IRISwe: tackling gender-based violence in healthcare settings together”, a celebration of our efforts and our history alongside our partners and stakeholders. For this occasion, only, we will be changing our logo to “IRISwe” to mark the campaign.

    SAVE THE DATE: “IRISwe” campaign is coming! Join our online webinar on 9th of December

    In 2022, we celebrated our 5th anniversary. For this reason, from 25th of November to 10th of December, IRISi's "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" campaign will be themed "IRISwe: tackling gender-based violence...

    Read more
    17.11.2022
    Five out of seven Health Boards in Wales commission the IRIS programme; the initiative is also funded by the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner in a sixth area.

    Case study: the successful rollout of the IRIS Programme in Wales

    Five out of seven Health Boards in Wales commission the IRIS programme; the initiative is also funded by the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner in a sixth area.

    Read more

    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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