Identification and Referral to Improve Safety  (IRIS)

"I just cried. I was just so relieved that somebody, that somebody just said something.
And he [the GP] gave me the box of tissues and I just sat and cried and cried and cried. And he said, 'Tell me when you're ready.'
And I poured it all out and that's when he said about [name of advocate educator].
He said, there is somebody out there to help me. I'm not on my own. And if I want help, it's there and not to be ashamed of it.
Which I was, really ashamed of it.
And he said, 'You're not on your own. We can get you this help.'
And he did. He really did."
Quote from a Patient


IRIS  is an early intervention pilot project that recognises that GP’s and staff within each surgery have an opportunity to recognise, record and refer patients who are currently experiencing or have experienced domestic violence and abuse. Fortalice has been commissioned to deliver the IRIS project to 50 GP surgeries across Bolton and is working in partnership with Health and Community Safety.

What is IRIS?
The IRIS project was established to identify hidden victims of domestic violence and abuse via patients attending GP surgeries. The role of the Advocate Educators is to work pro-actively with surgeries, providing core training so that staff become confident and comfortable in asking patients about whether they are experiencing violence or abuse. A refresher training is then provided to surgeries approximately 6 weeks later to identify barriers to reporting, understand how this can be overcome and to ensure good working practice.
Surgeries who are IRIS trained, will be able to make referrals to Fortalice and support will be provided. The Advocate Educator will make contact with the patient within 48 hours of the referral being made, to assess needs, risk, safety and to provide essential support.

Who is eligible?
Any patient who is over 16 who is or has been in an intimate relationship or from a family member regardless of gender or sexuality.
If you are a female victim you will receive direct support from the Advocate Educator, male victims will be referred into specialist services. Whilst any male patient who discloses that they are a perpetrator of violence/abuse, will also be referred to specialist services.

Role of Advocate Educator
The Advocate Educator will provide a holistic package of support for each patient, recognising that they do not deserve to be abused and that they can talk safely and confidentially to someone who understands their experience. A range of services can be accessed for drugs/alcohol, mental health, legal recourse via civil court to ensure safety, liaising with GMP if an arrest has been made, explaining what will happen if the police are called and going to court, immigration support, safety advice, support with children, counselling sessions for adults as well as children, attending support groups like the Freedom Project, etc.

What is domestic violence and abuse?
• Physical – punch, kick, slap, hair pulling, using weapons, strangling, choking, drowning
• Emotional – name calling, put downs, being called stupid, crazy, not a good parent, stalking
• Psychological – “mental torture”, isolation, excessive jealousy, not letting you see friends/family, texting/calling all the time
• Coercive control – making you do things that you don’t want to do, threats, intimidation
• Financial control – giving you no/little money, not letting you have access to money,
• Sexual abuse – making you do things that you don’t want to do, watching porn, participating in acts with others, rape
• Forced marriage – making you marry someone who you don’t want to
• Female genital mutilation

To speak to someone about what you have experienced or are currently experiencing please call the Support Centre on 01204 365677 between 9am -5pm Monday to Friday.

If you want to seek refuge please call 01204 701846 – 24 hour service.

In an emergency please call 999.