Transforming the primary health response to domestic abuse in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Iza Rana is an IRIS Advocate Educator with Advance Charity. The IRIS model is a domestic abuse and violence training, support and referral programme for GP practices. In this blog, Iza reflects on the introduction of the IRIS model to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The IRIS Programme in RBKC is being delivered by Advance Charity, looking to improve the healthcare response. We are an independent, client-led specialist domestic violence charity providing crisis intervention and on-going support to women experiencing domestic violence. We aim to empower women and improve the quality of life for them and their families in a variety of ways including working in partnership with other agencies.

We are very excited about the developments since the launch of the IRIS programme locally in May 2019. We have trained ten surgeries thus far, with another two booked and in the process of receiving training.  A further seven surgeries have shown an interest in signing up, with a total of 19 surgeries currently involved in the programme.

We have received wonderful feedback from those who have attended the training so far.  All clinicians trained have shared extremely positive feedback, saying they would highly recommend the training to colleagues.

This has been a very informative and educational session, most importantly this will be very beneficial for the local community and I look forward to an active engagement in the process


Simplifying the referral process has been helpful


A very good, educational session, even the role play! Clear and informative

I think the course has given me some confidence asking patients about DV

Interesting, interactive, lots to think about


Happy to learn and have more information about DV


Brilliant training, best DVA training

Lots of food for thought, good referral pathway

Very Insightful, lots to learn


Training is only one part of the IRIS programme and what makes it special is that it includes a simple referral and care pathway for clinicians to refer into a specialist worker, the IRIS Advocate Educator.  Since delivering our first training in practices, we have started to receive referrals.  Currently, we have received five referrals resulting in three women starting to access support and engaging with the Advocate Educators within their respective surgeries. While this is a good start, we will be continuing to follow up with practices that have had the training to promote engagement and encourage identification and referrals.  We will also be offering mop up training sessions for clinicians who may have missed clinical session one, as well as starting drop-in sessions in surgeries that received training.  As well as this, we will attend practice meetings to continue raising awareness about the IRIS programme.

Recently an external observer, Dr Keerty Nakray from India, joined one of the training sessions. She hopes to take the IRIS model to Bihar in India and was very complimentary of our delivery, and the IRIS model itself. We look forward to following the progress of this project which the national IRISi team are leading on.

For us at Advance, it’s all hands on deck to support clinicians and staff in trained practices to recognise domestic abuse in their patients, ask them about it and offer a referral.  Coupled with this, we will continue to train the remaining surgeries in RBKC. Onwards and upwards!

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