IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) is a national programme to help GPs identify patients experiencing domestic abuse and refer them to specialist support services by way of an Advocate Educator based in the GP’s surgery.
The IRIS Project in Devon and Torbay is an extended and improved model; for the first time, this national programme is incorporating sexual violence in addition to domestic violence.
Extending the information and support available to those affected not only by domestic abuse but also recent or historic rape, sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse is a logical step in Devon and Torbay. Commissioners in the local authorities oversee both issues and there is a degree of crossover in some instances. For example, sexual assault or rape can be part of domestic abuse, although the most common perpetrators of rape and sexual assault of adults are acquaintances.
What does it mean for GP practices in Torbay?
Signing up to become an IRIS practice will bring with it additional benefits, not so far offered across England
The change means that clinicians and reception staff in GP practices will receive training that gives them a much wider knowledge base and confidence to work with patients with experiences of sexual violence or domestic abuse, or of both.
For those practices that take up the IRIS offer, the Advocate Educator assigned to your practice will take referrals from a wider range of patients. If a patient was abused as a child, even if it was 30 years ago, you can refer them for support. If a patient is currently experiencing domestic abuse, you can refer them for support. If a patient was raped three weeks ago, you can refer them for support.
IRIS in Devon and Torbay will save your practice time and lead to more effective support for your patients.
For further information please contact the IRIS Team - IRISsouthdevonandtorbay@splitzdevon.org.