Violence against women and girls funding review: analysis of responses

Analysis of the responses to the Strategic Review of Funding and Commissioning of Violence Against Women and Girls Services call for evidence.

Question 11

What action should be taken to ensure unmet need is met and regional disparities are addressed?

187 responses were analysed for this question of which 121 responses were submitted by individuals and 66 by organisations. The organisations that answered this question included 8 local authorities/governments, 3 NHS organisations, 38 third sector organisations, and 17 classified as "other" or did not specify. There were eight themes emerging from the qualitative analysis of the free-text responses to this question.

Theme 1: Increase funding

The most common theme regarding actions to address unmet need and regional disparities was funding. Specifically, respondents highlighted that the current funding is not enough to meet all needs, and the additional funds should be ring-fenced and delivered through new funding models. Some respondents believed that the funding should be proportionate to the level of needs and the size of the population in each urban or rural community. Finally, a few respondents suggested that local authorities should have autonomy in the distribution of their funding.

"Funding structures were cited as being difficult to navigate and this impacts upon the perception of parity/ equality between areas." (Organisation)

"Strategic Assessments are part of any funding or commissioning strategy: a baseline needs to be established: population based funding may alleviate any disparity with a calculation included for rural/island communities. There must be other models developed eg ADP funding model that are tried and tested that could be adopted?" (Individual)

Theme 2: Focus on local needs

The second most frequently mentioned theme was ensuring that VAWG services are focused on local needs. In particular, it was suggested that the services should be tailored to the needs of each area as there is no universal approach in dealing with VAWG. This was often mentioned alongside the lack of services in rural areas, where respondents felt that more resources need to be diverted. Respondents also indicated that each local authority should develop and implement its own action plan and framework.

"To assess unmet needs, robust data needs to be collected resources should be flexed where possible, but it is for each organisation and local authority area to ensure that they have provision available to meet demand. We would expect to see local plans predicting demand and making contingency arrangements." (Third sector organisation)

"Local VAWPs strengthened in order to set strategic priorities in their areas; […] Local VAWPs [are] responsible for any additional or new projects and services to ensure in line with local priorities." (Multi-agency partnership)

Theme 3: Conduct needs assessments

The third most frequently mentioned theme was the need to understand the current level of needs. Respondents indicated that there is a lack of relevant data, particularly at a national level, which limits the understanding of the extent and type of needs in each area. To address this, respondents proposed conducting needs assessment and data gathering exercises in each area.

"Gaps exist in coordinated and resourced qualitative and quantitative data in relation to VAWG. Thus it is difficult to understand the nature of the problem and people's experiences and thereby have the correct information in order to effectively commission and develop interventions for the benefit for women and children. Carrying out a Strategic needs assessment may help to ensure that survivors' needs are identified and will support the design and delivery of services to meet those needs." (Organisation)

Theme 4: Inter-organisational collaboration

The next most frequent theme was the importance of collaboration among different organisations in the VAWG sector. Responses suggested that collaboration could take the form of partnerships or coproduction agreements, ensuring an appropriate level and quality of provision, and emphasised that cooperation should be implemented both at the local and national level in order to address disparities.

"Community Planning Partnerships could be a vital role in address these needs. As mentioned earlier giving people a voice and a say in how and what services should be provided will be vital in ensuing services meet people's needs. Having this co-production may take time to lay the foundations, to (1) build trust and confidence and (2) build individual capacities and strengthens." (Third sector organisation)

"Improve communication between government and local authorities so that issues can be dealt with from the top down. Put systems in place that ensure regional areas are communicating and sharing information and resources." (Third sector organisation)

Theme 5: Nationwide policy and framework

The next most common theme was the need for a nationwide policy and framework that would regulate the provision of VAWG across the nation, thus eliminating disparities across regions. This theme was often combined with the suggestion to focus on local needs. Some respondents proposed that the nationwide framework should ensure a minimum standard of provision in all areas, but each local authority would have the ability to adapt its provision to address its unique needs.

"In a perfect world there should be core services (refuge, advocacy, children's services, women's service, group work, outreach). there should however we scope to provide for local context, money maximization, baby banks, food and fuel banks etc. A recognition of core funds that are generic and reflect commonalities. However, scope that would allow responsivity to individuals and individual community context." (Third sector organisation)

"We think that robust, collaborative local commissioning structures, supported by a national framework, would be best placed to identify and address new/emerging or unmet need in local areas. We also think that national support and oversight to ensure unmet need is met would be welcome where this is evidenced locally through well-established processes." (Local authority/ government)

Theme 6: Monitoring and accountability

The next theme most commonly raised by respondents concerned the implementation of monitoring mechanisms. Specifically, respondents indicated that a robust monitoring mechanism should be implemented to ensure a consistent and high-quality provision across regions. Some respondents highlighted the need for a nationwide framework, where it was suggested that monitoring provisions should be planned within the framework in order to ensure accountability.

"[We] believe that national support and oversight to ensure unmet need is met would be welcome. In exploring the levers for change in this area it was suggested that a stronger focus on the impact of equalities could enhance action, for example focusing on the importance of sex as a protected characteristic and collaborating with those delivering on equalities focused work could add strength to understanding disparities. There is a need to understand the differences between the needs of a city […] and more rural and island communities." (Organisation)

Theme 7: Single-sex spaces

The next most common theme was the need for single-sex spaces. Respondents believed that to address unmet needs and eliminate regional disparities all providers of VAWG services should offer single-sex spaces by female workers.

"Ensure provision for women only spaces, as defined by law." (Individual)

"Extra funding should be provided for existing and/or new services which are single sex only." (Individual)

Theme 8: Involve people who experienced VAWG

The next most frequent theme was the suggestion to involve people having experienced VAWG in the design and delivery of VAWG services. Some respondents also suggested extending the scope of this engagement to include all women in each area in order to learn how to increase reporting rates and engagement with the services.

"Further equality impacts may be illuminated through engagement with communities utilising a Human Rights Based approach and the PANEL principles (Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and Equality, Empowerment and Legality). This ensures that communities who are currently more distant from services and the required information to have confidence in using those services can be supported to have their voices heard. This allows for communication plans around the availability of VAWG services to consider both targeted information relevant to protected characteristics and also wider socio-economic determinants including social class and stigma." (NHS organisation)

"You should be led by the women in the know in the locality with the experience and knowledge of the issues of that particular area." (Individual)



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