IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) began as a 3 year randomised controlled trial funded by the Health Foundation and was the first study of this kind in Europe. The study involved 12 intervention practices and 12 control practices. IRIS aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of a general practice based domestic violence training and support programme and to measure the disclosure and referral of women experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Ultimately, IRIS aimed to improve the health care response to domestic violence and abuse.

The IRIS trial appears very successful with positive results both in terms of identification of women experiencing abuse and referral of women to a specialist advocate based at nia. The initial analysis shows a significant improvement, far greater than the research team expected when the project began.

IRIS is now a general-practice based domestic violence and abuse service consisting of training and education, medical record prompts for clinical enquiry, audit and reinforcement, care pathways, clinical lead, practice based champion, IRIS advocate educator (based at a specialist domestic violence and abuse service) and domestic violence and abuse resources. The service provides support for female survivors of domestic violence and abuse and also provides information and signposting for male survivors and perpetrator.

IRIS is a collaboration between primary care and third sector organisations specialising in domestic violence and abuse.

Feedback on IRIS is very positive:

Clinician comments:

"I'm now convinced that violence against women and children is a major public health problem with long term consequences for women and their families. As an experienced GP, the whole project has been nothing short of transformational."

"Thanks so much. I saw her shortly after and she felt so supported and understood. Really moving. One of those special moments in GP when you feel that there is proper support out there for those most needing it. Fab."

"Thanks, it is good to at least feel one can help". "Since the training we have been able to pick up more cases and have been able to help women who had previously been unable to talk about the abuse. We are also more able to assess risk for the women and their children".

Client comments

"Thank you for your patience and kindness for without you where would people like me be?...when I am down I think of your words of encouragement and feel strong again".

"I needed somebody at that time because I was, I'll be honest, I was quite suicidal by that time. We had time to talk and it was very, very helpful. It was somebody to unload off to".

"I have slowly got my freedom back and am so happy to be making my own decision, planning my own way in life. This is not just for me, it's for my children and women like me out there".

IRIS - improving the quality of care of patients for patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse

To download the IRIS commissioning pack, please click on a link below: