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    Here you will find information on the various projects we work on. To access the projects quickly click on the links below or scroll down to read about all of them!


    What is IRIS?

    The health service plays an integral role in addressing the issue of and transforming responses to domestic violence and abuse (DVA). The IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) programme is a training, referral and advocacy model to support clinicians to better support their patients affected by DVA and to increase the awareness of domestic violence and abuse within general practice. IRIS provides specialist DVA training to clinical professionals, alongside administration staff, within local general practices. Our training supports clinicians to recognise and respond to DVA, and the programme provides a direct and trusted source for advocacy for patients following disclosure. The IRIS programme is an evidence-based, effective and cost-effective intervention to improve the primary care response to DVA and is nationally recognised.

    IRIS is cited by the Department of Health as the best practice for a primary care response to DVA (2010, 2011, 2017), and IRIS informed the NICE guidance and standards on DVA (2014 and 2016).

    What does IRIS look like in a local area?

    The programme is predominantly funded and commissioned by health. The IRISi team will work with local commissioners to successfully establish, implement and maintain the programme in your area. With IRISi’s support, a local DVA specialist service is selected to deliver the programme, and the local IRIS team is recruited. The team consists of an Advocate Educator (AE) and Clinical Lead, who is a local practicing clinician (usually a GP). The AE and Clinical Lead work in partnership to deliver the training and offer continued support to practices. The AE also provides specialist DVA support to the patients referred into the service. The IRIS team is supported by a local IRIS steering group, and IRISi’s Regional Managers provide ongoing expert advice and consultancy. The IRIS programme is a collaboration between health and the specialist third sector.

    What are the results? In eight years IRIS programmes have received 14,000 referrals and fully trained an estimated 850 general practices in 36 localities nationwide. The result of IRIS programmes is not only better-informed practice, improved responses and support for patients experiencing DVA, but ultimately lives are changed and saved as a result of its successful implementation.

    Click here to read more.


    Women affected by DVA are three times more likely to have gynaecological and sexual health problems. 47% of women attending sexual health services will have experienced DVA at some point in their lives and these services can be the first point of contact for support. Sexual health practitioners can have a key role in supporting women to access advocacy services but most haven’t had much training in identifying and responding to DVA.

    ADViSE (Assessing for Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sexual Health Environments) adapts the IRIS programme for use in sexual health clinics to support sexual health staff to recognise the signs and symptoms of patients affected by DVA, ask them whether they are affected, give a validating response and to then offer and make referrals to specialist services in line with British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH) DVA guidance.

    ADViSE has been piloted in sexual health clinics in Bristol and East London. The quantitative evaluation found that eight patients from each clinic were referred to specialist services. During the three months before the pilot, there were no referrals to DVA services at either site. The qualitative evaluation found that sexual health clinic staff felt that asking about and referring patients on to DVA services was appropriate and valuable. They responded favourably to the training and felt more confident about asking about DVA and managing disclosures.

    You can read the ADViSE commissioning Guidance here.


    Pathfinder is a pilot project run by a consortium of five expert partners with the aim of establishing comprehensive health practice in relation to domestic abuse and wider issues related to Violence Against Women & Girls in acute hospital trusts, mental health trusts and community-based IRIS programmes in GP practices. The project will be evaluated by Cardiff University.

    The five consortium members involved are IRISi, Standing Together Against Violence and Abuse, Imkaan, Safelives and AVA.

    Pathfinder are

    • Working with health stakeholders across eight UK sites to: identify and share good practice; turn guidance into practice; provide interventions where needed and link parts of the health economy to each other.
    • Linking local specialist services to health for a coordinated community response.
    • Sharing learning & guiding national dissemination of good practice to inform future policy work and data collection.
    • Developing a publicly available “toolkit” which will enable others across the country to follow a roadmap to achieve a model response to domestic abuse in health settings.

    For more information on the Pathfinder project visit

    IRIS Pharmacy

    Since 2016, we have been working with researchers at the University of Bristol, CLAHRC West (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care), and Queen Mary University to explore whether there is potential to adapt the IRIS model for use in pharmacy settings. A systematic review conducted by our research partners confirmed an association between domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and use of emergency contraception (EC). Women with experience of DVA are 1.5 to 6.5 times more likely to request emergency contraception than non-abused women. In a study of UK electronic patient records, women with experience of DVA in the past year were twice as likely to have had at least one consultation for emergency contraception than other women. As UK pharmacists supply 50% of all EC, they may be ideally placed to implement an adapted IRIS.

    Some work in pharmacies has already taken place. The IRIS teams in Islington and in Enfield, with some extra funding, provided standard IRIS training for community pharmacists in 2015. However, this training didn’t result in any referrals into the IRIS programme. To understand the reasons for no referrals and explore pharmacists’ views on identifying and responding to domestic violence, our research collaborators interviewed 20 pharmacists from Enfield and the South West. The interviews found that pharmacists were confident in providing public health services but lacked skills and confidence in identifying and responding to DVA. The pharmacists welcomed training on DVA, alongside organisation and system-level support, and public awareness raising on the role of community pharmacies in multisectoral response to DVA.

    In 2018, two stakeholder consultations took place to examine whether an adapted version of IRIS is feasible and acceptable for pharmacies and to explore how the model could be adapted to make it more pertinent to pharmacies. A programme theory and a logic model for an IRIS model for pharmacy are being developed (this means identifying all the different elements of what the adapted model should look like in a pharmacy setting and how these fit together to result in the desired outcomes). An application for funding will be made by our research partners to finalise and test the proposed adapted version of IRIS for pharmacy.

    Further information:


    IRIS+ is one work stream of the REPROVIDE research currently being undertaken by the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol. At present the evidence base for the IRIS model is for asking and supporting female victims, as we know DVA is a gendered issue. IRIS+ aims to explore the viability of an adaptation of IRIS to work with both male and female victims, male and female perpetrators and children. IRISi acts as a consultant on this project, advising around the development of the training materials and the delivery of this to clinicians.

    Results from the feasibility of IRIS+ showed that the IRIS+ intervention, as originally designed, is not feasible in the timeframe and form. However, it also highlighted ways in which specific adaptations to the intervention could potentially allow it to progress to a viable model. A revised intervention is being carried out in Bristol and Cardiff and will be fully evaluated in due course.

    IRIS in 7 Boroughs

    IRISi has been commissioned by The Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to work with partners in health and the specialist Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector to rollout the IRIS programme in seven London Boroughs. We launched in Jan 2020 and all delivery of the programme of works must end by March 2022. The IRIS in 7B programme objectives are to:

    • Improve quality of life, improve physical health, mental health, and reduction in abuse of patients.
    • Improve domestic abuse response, provision of holistic care and continued professional development for primary care professionals.
    • Increase GP practices awareness of domestic abuse and ensure they are resourced.
    • Help families know how to identify issues of concern and know where to access support by supporting all family members, as well as parents and carers; and
    • Provide families affected by violence have the opportunity to participate in the development of violence reduction solutions.

    This programme is being delivered in Tower Hamlets, Croydon, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster. The programme is being evaluated by DMSS research and we are also working with AVA, who are leading on our survivor consultation.

    The IRIS in 7 Boroughs Programme officially ended in June 2022. To find out more about its outcomes, please click here.

    IRIS and ADViSE in London (London’s Violence Reduction Unit – VRU)

    In a stride towards creating a safer London for all, the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has taken one more important action to address Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse (D&SVA) within healthcare settings. Building on the success of the 7B Programme, which implemented IRIS in 7 different boroughs of London, the VRU has commissioned IRISi to manage grant funding and implement our two interventions, IRIS and ADViSE, in collaboration with various specialist organisations across London. This powerful partnership reflects a shared commitment to providing essential support for those affected by Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence, marking a pivotal moment in recognising and assisting individuals who often remain unheard and unsupported.

    To find out more, click here.

    What's the latest from IRISi

    This nomination underscores the programme's remarkable efforts in addressing domestic abuse and sexual violence within sexual health settings, contributing significantly to reducing health inequalities and ensuring equitable access to healthcare services.

    ADViSE Programme nominated for NHS Parliamentary Awards in Health Equality category

    This nomination underscores the programme's remarkable efforts in addressing domestic abuse and sexual violence within sexual health settings, contributing significantly to reducing health inequalities and ensuring equitable access to healthcare services.

    Read more
    IRISiNews #18: An overview of what happened from January to April 2024!

    IRISiNews #18: An overview of what happened from January to April 2024!

    Welcome to the 18th edition of “IRISi News”, where we look back on the exciting developments that unfolded from January to April 2024.

    Read more
    London's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is funding IRIS in six new boroughs. In Havering, IRIS is delivered in partnership with Aanchal; in Merton and Wandsworth, with Refuge; in Harrow and Hillingdon, with Advance and AWRC; and in Sutton, with Sutton Women’s Centre.

    Empowering General Practices: VRU expands the IRIS Programme to tackle Domestic Abuse in London

    London's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is funding IRIS in six new boroughs. In Havering, IRIS is delivered in partnership with Aanchal; in Merton and Wandsworth, with Refuge; in Harrow and Hillingdon, with Advance and...

    Read more

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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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