Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) affects around a quarter of women and a fifth of men in the UK. People who experience and live with DVA have increased physical and mental health problems. But they often do not disclose their experience to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, for fear of not being understood or taken seriously, or of the repercussions from their partner.
IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) is a general practice-based domestic violence and abuse (DVA) training support and referral programme aimed at women experiencing DVA. The IRIS programme led to a significant increase in referrals to domestic violence agencies, indicating that more survivors of DVA were able to get effective support and help.
People who experience DVA are often suffering from a mental illness – depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are common – and are under the care of community mental health services. If people are in a sexually violent or abusive relationship, their first point of contact for help is often the sexual health clinic, as there are higher rates of sexually transmitted infections in this group. This research aims to examine how feasible it is to roll out adapted versions of IRIS into mental health, alcohol and sexual health services.
A feasibility study to see if the IRIS approach could be adapted for NHS and voluntary sector mental health, sexual health and alcohol services, in conjunction with third sector agencies.
The study will explore the acceptability of this training intervention for clinical staff in sexual health settings, to inform further development of this new approach.