Northern Ireland GPs helping to identify victims of domestic and sexual abuse
GPs in Northern Ireland are helping to identify and refer victims of domestic and sexual abuse to specialist support under a new pilot scheme.
The “identification and referral to improve safety” (IRIS) programme is currently being piloted in 16 practices in East Belfast and the Newry and Mourne area.
The pilot is a collaboration between primary care and Women’s Aid, Men’s Advisory Project, Nexus NI and Victim Support NI.
Health minister Robin Swann said: “Unfortunately we know that domestic abuse is all too common within our communities and we need to use every opportunity to help people get the support that they need.
“Our primary care services are uniquely placed to identify and support victims of domestic and sexual abuse and I welcome general practice’s involvement in this IRIS pilot.
“The IRIS programme aims to better equip GPs, practice nurses and other professionals within primary care to spot the signs of domestic and sexual abuse earlier and to connect victims to the right services as quickly as possible.”
The Department of Health said it hopes the pilot will provide evidence and learning that will lead to the initiative being extended to other GP practices across Northern Ireland in the years ahead.