Themis – Locating IDVAs in hospitals

We had our first meeting on Friday with the six organisations who are going to be the research sites for our hospital based IDVA evaluation.  They are the IDVA team in Addenbrookes (Cambridge), Advance, the IDVA team in Bristol Royal Infirmary (who sadly couldn’t attend), North Devon WA, Victim Support in Newcastle and Worth Services.  As is always the case with these meetings, it is just so refreshing to hear from the different IDVAs, their managers and clinical champions about their work.  And, as is always the case, I learnt a lot.

The things that struck me most were:

1. The incredible determination and commitment of those involved.  It is only a slight exaggeration to say that some IDVAs are close to camping on a chair in the corridor of A&E, waiting for their opportunity to integrate with the process.

2. What a difference it makes to have a clinical champion and someone to advocate for the approach with the management of the hospital so that it is quickly embedded and integrated.

3. How much training is needed for clinical staff – it sounded endless in order to cope with high levels of staff turnover and low levels of DV awareness. Also the inconsistencies between one trust where DV training is mandatory and its neighbour in the room where it is not.

4. How in every single case, just the presence of the IDVAs in the hospital makes such a difference in terms of numbers of disclosures, and how many of these victims are unknown to any other agency.  I haven’t doubted that this is a wise approach – but it is really reassuring to hear again how true it is and how complementary to existing services.

5. Finally, the need to make the case for this work to public health commissioners in particular is acute.  More work to do…..

5 Comments to “Themis – Locating IDVAs in hospitals”

  1. Such a difficult area to work in – I remember sitting with A&E manager in 2006 practically begging her to join the partnership for all the reasons you suggest above. She listened but could only see the barriers and not the advantages (to service users or her staff).

    • We have undertaken some training work and awareness raising with the Acute Trust in Cumbria however it was not successful in making changes to practice for many of the reasons outlined above. I am very interested in the outcome of the pilot.

  2. Your comments are very fair – the key difference here is that there is a specialist service located in the hospital so that there is a care pathway to take referrals. All the evidence seems to suggest that without this clinicians are understandably very cautious about either routine or selective enquiry as they fear getting disclosures and then not being equipped to respond properly. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

    • Hi I think this is fantastic, I am a Domestic abuse liaison nurse working in the ED of Nottingham Queens medical centre. I provide training and advice and support to staff and also see patients in the department as able, The number of disclosures and good practice re documentation has increased. post commenced 3 yrs ago in August 2012, I work closely with specialist services in Nottingham and attend the MARAC. Please can you send me any further information thanks Selecia Kench Domestic abuse nurse.

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