The cost of Domestic abuse to the health service is vast, barring mental health, it averages under £2 billion per year with the major costs being to GPs and hospitals.

We know, that often health providers such as GPS, doctors, nurses, midwives are the first point of contact to those who are suffering abuse and so health professionals have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in people’s lives.

Those who find themselves in hospitals are often in immediate danger or in crisis and so the response provided needs to be in line with the severity of the situation and person centred.

Hospital Independent domestic violence advisors (IDVA’S) provide essential practical support, empathy and understanding with a person centred response, as well as ensuring longer term community support by liaising with other agencies with an aim of reducing further or future harm.

IRIS programme

GPs are often the only professionals who engage with both the perpetrator and the victim and thus they oversee and hear invaluable information in preventing domestic abuse related homicides. Advance recognises the need to improve access to specialist support for those in health settings who suffer domestic abuse.

The IRIS model is a domestic abuse and violence training, support and referral programme for GP practices delivered by Advance Charity within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The impact of the work fall under three main categories:

a) Survivors can access the right support earlier and at the right time. Survivors are referred onto specialist domestic abuse workers, enabling them to;

  • have improved feelings of being safer
  • have improved quality of life
  • have improved feelings of confidence
  • have improved physical and mental health

b) Primary care professionals have training on identifying, responding and improved safeguarding for survivors of domestic abuse which enables them to have:

  • improved understanding of domestic abuse and its relevance to health
  • knowledge on how to respond and ask appropriately about DVA
  • knowledge on how to contact and refer to DVA specialist services
  • awareness of safeguarding responsibilities and the links with domestic abuse

c) GP practices will have

  • access to a bespoke and dedicated holistic domestic abuse casework provision
  • improved options for professional development of practice staff
  • increased awareness that domestic abuse is ‘everyone’s business’
  • improved safeguarding knowledge across the local authority

Co Located advocacy