About the project

Working closely with primary care the IRIS project aims to increase the identification of victims and perpetrators of abuse and improve the support they receive.

Commissioned by Cwm Taf University Health Board IRIS provides training and support to the 41 G.P practises throughout Cwm Taf.
The IRIS service provides:

Training and support

Each practise receives specialist clinical training for G. P’s and practice staff including an additional training for frontline staff including administrators. The training focuses on providing information on how to identify domestic abuse through clinical enquiry and how to respond in terms of assessing immediate risk, referral, recording and confidentiality.

Clinical lead

Training is delivered by the IRIS Educate Advocate (AE) with the support of a local clinician. As Cwm Taf is such a large area two clinical leads have supported and co-delivered the training to their peers. They have both played an instrumental role in the driving the project in Cwm Taf by the delivery of training and providing support to their clinical peers.

Health education resources

Once each practice has received the full training they become a domestic abuse aware practice. This is recognised and promoted to patients by the displaying of posters and information cards identifying them as domestic abuse aware. Practices also receive referral forms and information on care pathways for female survivors, male survivors and perpetrators.

Advocacy for patients

Each domestic abuse aware practice has direct access to an AE. In Cwm Taf there are two AE’s, one based at Women’s aid –RCT and one at Safer Merthyr Tydfil  ( http://www.smt.org.uk/ )  . The role of the AE is to provide advocacy and emotional support to patients whilst identifying risk, implementing safety plans and signposting to other services if necessary and acts as a named contact for patient referrals.

Cwm Taf - facts and figures 

IRIS has been running in Cwm Taf for the past two years and is now well established with 41 practices fully trained and domestic abuse aware. 

On the second year anniversary of the implantation of IRIS the project, September 2017 the project had achieved the following


All GP practices in Cwm Taf were fully trained. 472 GP’s and clinical staff and 216 frontline staff were trained to identify and support victims of domestic abuse.

GP feedback

Very enlightening and educating seminar. Has really made me think and far more aware. Statistics were very alarming.
Interesting stats and helpful presentation-clearly delivered and interesting
Excellent communication from AE when patients referred. Confident to pass patients over into safe hands


As a direct result of the training and IRIS process the project received 275 referrals into the project (figures September 2017). In 2014/ 15, the year prior to the implementation of IRIS only 5 referrals were received from primary health care services across Cwm Taf.


All patients referred to the service have reported being glad to have been asked about domestic abuse and feel more positive about their future now they are receiving the right support.

  • 94% of female referrals offered support have engaged with IRIS service. 6% in totality have been non-contactable.

  • 36% of female referrals were first time disclosures

  • 93% of all female referrals were not currently involved with any other domestic abuse service

Through risk assessment 170 referrals were identified as standard to medium risk and 29 as high risk. 7 referrals were received from individuals identifying as the perpetrator of abuse within their relationships.