DMSS Research undertakes research, evaluation,
policy analysis and training in the social care sector

Learning from the Women and Girls Initiative

Over the last year as part of the Learning and Evaluation Partnership for the National Lottery Community Fund’s Women and Girls’ Initiative we have been involved in producing a series of briefings intended to help commissioners, funders and professionals better understand the specialist services provided by the women and girls’ sector and the added value of feminist approaches. Each briefing has been co-created with a group of projects funded as part of the WGI. In most cases a group of similar projects have come together over a series of meetings and embarked on some action learning that has informed the focus and content of the briefings. The core idea was that the briefings should be useful to the projects concerned, provide them with something better or more substantial than they could have produced on their own and highlight their work as part of a wider sector. In this way we hoped to help increase their authority and influence.

We know that services have used the briefings to support funding applications and tenders, as handouts on training and as induction materials for new staff. They can be accessed from the links below and women and girls' services are welcome to download, print and disseminate them to support their work in any context.

Women’s mental health: The essential contribution of feminist services

The briefing includes:

  • A brief overview of the relationship between gender inequality and women’s mental health
  • An outline of the key role trauma-informed feminist services play in meeting the needs of women
  • Examples of such services funded by the Women and Girls Initiative

Why Women's Centres Work: An Evidence Briefing

The briefing includes:

  • A brief description of the Women’s Centre approach
  • An outline of why Women’s Centres are needed and the benefits they offer
  • A summary of the evidence in relation to how and why they work

Partnership working for Women and Girls

This briefing shares live lessons about the successes and challenges from three larger scale partnerships: Women & Girls Partnership in Sheffield, Women's Lives Leeds and the Greater Manchester Women's Support Alliance and explores what they are finding works well in making them effective.

Residential services for women survivors of abuse and multiple disadvantage: Implications of the Covid-19 pandemic

This paper is a contribution to current discussions amongst those concerned about the future of refuges and other services for women in urgent need of a safe place to stay.

Safer Pair of Hands: Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) specialist violence against women work

This briefing outlines the particular strengths of BME services in supporting BME women and calls for greater recognition of the challenges such services face and the value and expertise they offer in commissioning processes and monitoring requirements and in partnership working arrangements within the VAWG sector.

Why Working with Girls and Young Women Matters

This briefing contains insights and evidence for commissioners, service providers, funders and professionals about why working with girls and young women is vital, the values and principles that underpin the work and what is working well.

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