In the UK, the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) initiative has been developed for use within primary care to support women survivors of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). However, while evaluated nationally, less is known regarding impact of implementation at a local level. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of IRIS within one locality in the UK.
A qualitative study using interviews/focus groups with primary care teams and women who had experienced DVA in one primary care setting in the UK. Interviews with 18 participants from five professional categories including: general practitioners, practice nurses, practice managers, assistant practice managers and practice receptionists. Focus group discussion/interview with seven women who had accessed IRIS. Data were collected between November 2016 and March 2017.
Five main themes were identified for professionals: Team role approach to training, Professional confidence, Clear pathway for referral and support, Focussed support, Somewhere to meet that is a “safe haven”. For women the following themes were identified: Longevity of DVA; Lifeline; Face to face talking to someone; Support and understood where I was coming from; A place of safety.
IRIS played a significant role in helping primary care professionals to respond effectively. For women IRIS was more proactive and holistic than traditional approaches.
This study was designed to assess the impact that a local level implementation of the national IRIS initiative had on both providers and users of the service simultaneously. The study identifies that a “whole team approach” in the primary care setting is critical to the effectiveness of DVA initiatives.
The authors would like to thank all the participants for taking part in the study and for sharing their experiences. JM and KW designed the project and analysed the data with input from BH. JM and KW supervised data collection and drafted the paper with input from BH. BH interviewed professional staff participants. JM facilitated focus group interviews with women who were using IRIS. All authors have agreed on the final version. The authors do not have any conflict of interest. This research received funding (locally anonymised) and the funders were not involved in the study design, data collection, data analysis, decision to publish or the preparation of the manuscript.
McGarry, J., Hussain, B. and Watts, K. (2019), "Exploring primary care responses to domestic violence and abuse (DVA): operationalisation of a national initiative", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 144-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-10-2018-0025Download as .RIS
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