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COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse

Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa, VISION Deputy Director has recently published, COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse: a mixed methods rapid study in the BMC Primary Care journal, with Lucy Downes, IRIS Network Director.

Increased incidence and/or reporting of domestic abuse (DA) occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the lockdowns across the UK, services providing support to victims had to adapt and consider adding methods of remote outreach to their programmes.

Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) is a programme to improve the response to domestic abuse in general practice, providing training for general practice teams and support for patients affected by DA. The COVID-19 pandemic required those running the programme to adapt to online training and remote support.

Estela and Lucy employed a mixed methods rapid approach to this research in order to gather evidence around the relevance, desirability and acceptability of IRIS operating remotely. Quantitative IRIS referral data were triangulated with data from surveys and interviews. They found that the adaptation to online training and support of IRIS was acceptable and desirable.

This study contributes to practice by asserting the desirability and acceptability of training clinicians to be able to identify, ask about DA and refer to the IRIS programme during telephone/online consultations. The findings from this study may be of interest to (public) health commissioners when making commissioning decisions to improve the general practice response to domestic abuse.

For further information please see: COVID-19 adaptations to a training and support programme to improve primary care response to domestic abuse: a mixed methods rapid study | BMC Primary Care (springer.com)

Or contact Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa at e.capelasbarbosa@bristol.ac.uk

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

Training GPs remotely during COVID-19: Lessons learned

There may have been a rise in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time general practice adopted remote working, which extended to training and education being delivered online.

IRIS (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety) is an example of an evidence-based UK healthcare training support and referral programme, focusing on DVA, which transitioned to remote delivery during the pandemic.

To understand the adaptations and impact of remote DVA training in IRIS-trained general practices a group of researchers – including VISION members Estela Barbosa and Gene Feder – explored the perspectives of those delivering and receiving training. 

It was found that remote DVA training in UK general practice widened access to learners. However, it may have reduced learner engagement compared with face-to-face training. DVA training is integral to the partnership between general practice and specialist DVA services, and reduced engagement risks weakening this partnership.

The researchers recommend a hybrid DVA training model for general practice, including remote information delivery alongside a structured face-to-face element. This has broader relevance for other specialist services providing training and education in primary care.

For further information please see: Adapting domestic abuse training to remote delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives from general practice and support services | British Journal of General Practice (bjgp.org)

Or contact Estela Barbosa Capelas at estela.barbosa@city.ac.uk

Disclosing domestic violence on Reddit during the pandemic

Domestic violence (DV) is a huge social issue and during the COVID-19 pandemic, DV and intimate partner violence (IPV) increased. Frequently imposed quarantine increased contact between perpetrators and victims, potentially leading to underlying increases in the occurrence of violence at home.

Social media sites such as Reddit represent an alternative outlet for disclosing experiences of violence where healthcare access has been limited. This study analysed seven violence-related subreddits to investigate different violence patterns from January 2018 to February 2022, developing a new perspective and methodology for violence research. Specifically, we collected violence-related texts from Reddit using keyword searching and identified six major types of violence with supervised machine learning classifiers: DV, IPV, physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and nonspecific violence or others. Among IPV-related posts, the number with COVID-related keywords was highest in the middle-pandemic phase.

The findings highlight the importance of the role of social media as a platform for disclosing and describing experiences of violence and support the role of social media site monitoring as a means of informative surveillance for help-providing authorities and violence research groups.

For further information please see: Characterizing the Differences in Descriptions of Violence on Reddit During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Lifang Li, Lilly Neubauer, Robert Stewart, Angus Roberts, 2023 (sagepub.com)

Or contact Lifang at lifang.li@kcl.ac.uk or Angus at angus.roberts@kcl.ac.uk

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

Remote GP contact limits domestic violence care

General Practice has a central role in identifying and supporting those affected by DVA. Pandemic associated changes in UK primary care included remote initial contacts with primary care and predominantly remote consulting.

This paper explores general practice’s adaptation to DVA care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that the disruption caused by pandemic restrictions revealed how team dynamics and interactions before, during and after clinical consultations contribute to identifying and supporting patients experiencing DVA. Remote assessment complicates access to and delivery of DVA care.

This has implications for all primary and secondary care settings, within the NHS and internationally, which are vital to consider in both practice and policy.

For further information please see: General practice wide adaptations to support patients affected by DVA during the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid qualitative study | BMC Primary Care | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash