We are living and practicing medicine in unprecedented times. This has resulted in a huge rise in domestic abuse.
Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity says calls to its Helpline have risen by 50% since lock down measures began. It has also been widely reported in the media.
Those experiencing abuse at this time are much less visible and have less access to support than previously. Further more, the confinement and restriction measures introduced, mean that victims (including children) are spending concentrated time with perpetrators, potentially escalating the threat of domestic abuse. GP's have a vital part to play and more than ever before referral to IRIS may help women access the services they need.
We are concerned since this rise in domestic abuse is not reflected in the recent referrals to IRIS. It is now far more difficult for patients to contact GP’s regarding abuse and far more difficult for GP’s to know or suspect that it is happening. There has been a reduction in referrals to IRIS since early March. GP’s in City and Hackney have started to ask for help and advice in dealing with this worrying situation, and Iris would like to help GP's to maintain the overall referral rate to match pre-Covid-19 levels.
As part of our response, we are setting up an on-line domestic abuse Q and A session for all City and Hackney: IRIS GP practice leads, all practice GP’s, GP trainees, Locum GP’s, practice nurses and HCA’s.
These sessions will be facilitated by Anjila Sinha, Iris Senior Advocate Educator. Dr Vanda Playford, GP lead for Iris in City and Hackney and Selma Taha, Advocacy Services Manager from nia, will also be in attendance to help with answering your questions and concerns.
We will send you a Microsoft team invite for the meeting. The session will include the challenges of telephone and video consulting, detection, referral pathways, safeguarding and anything related to domestic abuse. We would like to share good practice and discuss cases. The cases or queries can be made anonymous and sent to us ahead of time if this is helpful.
If you would like to attend please register here on the GP website.
Please inform other clinicians who may be interested and who might not have received/seen this posting. Please make it a priority to attend. It may save lives.
Very many thanks and hope to see you there.
Anjila Sinha , Vanda Playford, Selma Taha