Women and Girls At Risk: Evidence Across the Life Course

14th August 2014, words by Di McNeish, Sara Scott

A constellation of structural and individual risk factors – in childhood and as adults – lead too many women and girls to the criminal justice system, secure psychiatric accommodation, chronic use of drugs and alcohol, prostitution, homelessness and other poor life trajectories.  We know that the risk factors for such women and girls are multiple and frequently extreme, and the services that aim to support them too often fail: at worst, some services can have the effect of reinforcing earlier traumatic experiences and causing further harm.  We also recognise that many women overcome early problems to lead fulfilling and successful lives, and that some services provide exemplary support.

Lankelly Chase is working with Clinks, the Corston Funders Coalition and a group of women’s organisations to develop an alliance focused on bringing the voices of women and girls at risk to a central place in the policy agenda.

This alliance of funders, practitioners and others will identify or develop an evidence base of effective practice, and create a convincing case for systems change so that the needs of vulnerable women and girls can be met at an earlier stage. Or where interventions fail, health, criminal justice and other statutory services are improved so that they are able to break negative cycles.

The first piece of work commissioned by the alliance has now been published – details can be found here: Women and Girls at Risk: evidence across the life course.

If you would like to discuss our work in this area, please contact Cathy Stancer

We also support a number of organisations within our Promoting Change Network to take forward systems change at a local level to improve responses and shift resources to women and girls:

Birth Companions: Birth Companions works to support highly vulnerable women during the perinatal period and plans to develop evidence of effective practice and to influence statutory agencies.

Hull Lighthouse: Hull Lighthouse provides a responsive, flexible and person-centred service to women street sex workers in Hull plus research to chart women’s journeys to the streets.

Isis Women’s Centre: The Isis Women’s Centre at the Nelson Trust works with women facing severe and muliple disadvantage. Lankelly Chase funding will increase the project’s capacity to engage with women referred through non-criminal justice pathways.

Together Women Project: TWP is running a co-production project working with a group of young women facing severe and multiple disadvantage to enable them to design their own solutions to prevent repeated patterns of victimisation, poverty, poor mental health and exclusion.

Up-to-Us: Up-2-Us provides a flexible, person-centred and intensive service to young women and girls in or at risk of entering locked institutions in West Central Scotland. Up-2-Us will share the lessons it has learned from practice with local commissioners and policy-makers.

WomenCentre: WomenCentre’s Co-Director will work to develop a new narrative around women facing severe and multiple disadvantage, to engage with key national agendas and to make the case for women-centred solutions.

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