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£1m invested to improve London’s doctors’ skills in helping domestic violence victims

Funding will expand the programme across 17 London boroughs

London's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has announced a new £1 million investment in training doctors and healthcare professionals to boost their abilities in identifying the signs of domestic violence and offering earlier help to victims.

Specialist training for doctors and GPs is currently available in ten boroughs. The new funding will expand the programme across 17 boroughs, providing two dedicated domestic violence advocates per borough, with the potential to support more than two million Londoners to access support and guidance. The programme has been developed by IRISi, a social enterprise which works to improve the response to gender-based violence in the health sector, along with partner organisations.

The Mayor of London says that there is strong evidence of links between domestic violence and other forms of serious violent crime, with City Hall data showing that 13 per cent of serious youth violence victims are also victims of domestic violence, while a third of female serious youth violence victims were also victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Figures show that 80 per cent of women in a violent relationship seek help from health services and that these are often a victim's first, or only, point of contact. Training for doctors and GPs will increase their skills and experience to be able to spot the signs of domestic violence earlier and help them better assess immediate risks and where to refer patients for further support. Women using GP surgeries in London where practitioners have already been trained are six times more likely to be referred to specialist support and to have had a conversation about domestic violence with their GP. Patients at these practices also report feeling safer and more about to cope, with many reporting that they visited their GP less frequently as a result.

For the full announcement, click here.