A safe, just and equal world for women

Whole Health Approach

It’s estimated that nearly half a million survivors of domestic abuse seek help from medical professionals every year. GPs, nurses, midwives and hospital doctors are often the first point of contact, placing them in a unique position to spot the signs of abuse and signpost survivors to specialist domestic abuse support services. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, with 30% of domestic abuse beginning during pregnancy and 40-60% of women experiencing abuse while pregnant

Female health care professional smiles at woman.

ADViSE programme

Domestic abuse is often connected to sexual health and gynaecological problems. It has links to an increase in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies. We deliver the ADViSE (Assessing for Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sexual Health Environments) programme at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington in Westminster.

Our ADViSE advocate educators support sexual health clinicians to identify and respond to patients affected by domestic abuse, and signpost survivors to Advance and partner services.

If you’re attending the Sexual Health Clinic at St Mary’s Hospital and would like to discuss support for domestic and/or sexual abuse, please approach a doctor or nurse who can arrange an appointment with a specialist caseworker at the clinic.

IRIS programme

GPs are often the only professionals who engage with both the perpetrator and the victim, which puts them in a unique position to see and hear information that could prevent domestic abuse and related deaths. We recognise the need to improve access to domestic abuse support for women in health settings, such as GP surgeries.
The IRIS model is a domestic abuse training, support and referral programme for GP practices.

Health professionals are trained to ask about abuse, know how to contact and refer to a domestic abuse specialist or service, and understand the importance of safeguarding.

This model ensures women have a safe place to go to where they can disclose abuse and receive support. Healthcare provides a key opportunity to help and protect more victims, sooner. 

For more information on current IRiS programmes, visit IRISi Interventions.

Mental Health IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate)

Our Mental Health IDVA supports women experiencing domestic abuse and mental health issues to find the support they need. We work closely with a range of organisations that provide mental health services.

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