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Researchers to explore the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on domestic abuse referrals in primary care

A new study, led by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care in collaboration with colleagues in Queen Mary University of London, UCL, University of Oxford and IRISi will explore whether and how GP referrals to domestic abuse services have changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The PRECODE study, which has received over £260,000 of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will measure differences in domestic abuse referrals during and after the lockdown in England and Wales compared to the year before.

To provide a detailed picture of impact, the analysis will be combined with data from interviews with general practice teams and IRIS advocate educators, who deliver training to those teams and receive referrals of patients experiencing domestic abuse.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of domestic abuse in the UK and globally have risen, as people have found themselves trapped at home with an abusive partner, spouse or other adult. At the same time, GPs have switched from face to face consultations to phone, digital and video – so-called ‘remote’ consultations, potentially increasing risk to women reporting violence.

Researchers will look at whether and how GPs have managed to ask safely about abuse, offer support and make referrals when consulting with patients remotely by telephone, video or online. They will also examine how GPs have adapted to online training about domestic violence and abuse.

Dr Eszter Szilassy, co-lead of the study, said: “With the rapid shift to remote consultations during the pandemic, we want to find out what the impact has been on GP domestic abuse referrals. This is important not only because there has been an increase in domestic abuse since the start of the pandemic but also because it is likely that remote consultations will become more common, even after lockdown eases.”

Professor Gene Feder, co-lead of the study, said: “Over the past decade many GPs, in line with national policy, have been trained in how to ask and respond to patients who may be experiencing domestic abuse, providing general support and a crucial link to expert support from local domestic abuse agencies. The shift to remote consultations makes safe disclosure of abuse more difficult. This study will help GPs continue to have a vital role in supporting survivors of domestic abuse at a time when they are most needed.”

Medina Johnson, Chief Executive of IRISi, a social enterprise established to promote and improve the healthcare response to domestic abuse, and whose flagship intervention is the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) programme, said:  “We are delighted to be the quantitative data provider for PRECODE and to support in brokering the relationships and sampling for the qualitative research. We hope this study will help us to understand how to refine and adapt our programme even more to help general practice teams better support their patients affected by domestic abuse. ”

The results of the study (PRECODE: Primary care response to domestic violence and abuse in the COVID-19 pandemic) are expected at the end of the year.

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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
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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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