Supporting women - workshop descriptions

National conference that will share gendered multi-agency approaches to providing holistic support to women.

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Workshop descriptions

Working in collaboration with Local Authorities to provide different models of housing and support for women at risk of homelessness due to violence or abuse

This session will consider:

  • the barriers women experiencing domestic abuse or VAWG face to access safe long-term housing, and raise awareness about reciprocal agreements as an achievable and cost-effective solution for survivors at risk of homelessness
  • the different needs women and their families fleeing violence or abuse might present with, and how to ensure their housing and support needs are met before, while and after moving to enable survivors to start their recovery journey
  • how the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal partnership was initially set up and outline how the scheme operates and successfully brings practitioners to work together
  • the successful partnership between Southwark Housing Solutions and Solace Women’s Aid and how this has helped women fleeing VAWG to achieve positive outcomes both for housing and getting the right support
  • the package of support and options available through these successful partnership and others
  • the impact of this approach
  • the scope for replication in other geographical areas and types of housing including between hostels and supported housing and discuss how to get the right professionals around the table. 

Exploring gender differences in experiences of trauma and how this impacts on how women seek support and help

This session will draw upon real-life examples from women to consider:

  • the facets of complex trauma in an accessible way, reviewing the differences and impact of trauma as it affects women across the lifespan, and exploring topics such as self-harm and the research around Adverse Childhood Experiences and what that teaches us about women’s experiences
  • what works in supporting women 
  • how women seek help and what that means for how services could respond more effectively to the needs of women
  • how agencies can improve their cross working to support women more effectively.

Women, Violence and Immigration Control: a model practice of working to support marginalised, destitute women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness

This session will share:

  • your model practice of working with vulnerable Black and minority ethnic migrant women who were experiencing gender-based violence and simultaneously subject to immigration control and the No Recourse to Public Funds rule who were destitute and homeless or at risk of homelessness.  
  • the intersectional oppressions women face whilst delivering crisis-based advocacy the specific barriers, importantly those at institutional levels, and makes pertinent recommendations for best practice enabling mainstream services to recognize, respond and centralize excluded women needs.
  • an understanding of the issues including how women were exposed to heightened levels of racism and sexual/labour exploitation throughout their search for safety
  • the key themes that women identified as being the main barriers to support, in addition to your own casework experience
  • practical ways in which organisations and civil society can respond to these.

How can social investment be used to improve outcomes for vulnerable women?

This session will:

  • discuss our findings on gender-specific housing needs and gaps in provision for vulnerable women, and whether these findings align with participants’ experiences
  • showcase examples of how social investment has been used to pilot, scale or improve housing outcomes for vulnerable women 
  • discuss participants’ barriers to take on social investment (including any particularly relevant for women-led providers), preferences for the types and terms of capital provided, and tolerance for different forms of risk
  • outline and address questions on opportunities and considerations for providers when they are seeking social investment, such as types of investment available and ways to combine grant funding and social investment.

 Implementing a gender informed Housing First service: improving outcomes for homeless women

This session will share:

  • -the experience of homelessness for women accessing your Housing First service.  It will outline the different routes into, and out of, homelessness, highlighting the ways in which structural inequalities compound the experience of homelessness for women.  
  • key features of the Threshold Housing First service - your learning from the women you have worked with, the collaborations you have developed to enhance access to mental health treatment and counselling, the work you have done to challenge the high incidence of women permanently losing their children as a result of their homelessness, and the outcomes delivered since it began  
  • your problem solving approach which develops highly practical solutions to a propelling question – how can I improve outcomes for homeless women? Participants will develop practical ‘can-if’ statements to help them to understand some steps they can take to implement a gender informed Housing First service.

The remainder of the session will be participatory; the group will identify barriers or constraints relevant to their context and will help them draw out what they can do to make the changes.  


Nowhere to turn: survivors experiences of fleeing domestic abuse

This session will share:

  • the findings of Women’s Aid’s Nowhere to Turn 2018 Report that is based on the No Woman Turned Away project which provides additional support to women in their search for a refuge space alongside detailed monitoring and analysis on survivors’ needs and system response
  • the range of barriers to accessing a refuge space that survivors seeking safety continue to experience and the impact of this
  • the difficulties that survivors face in getting support from local housing teams and social services and why you believe this to be the case.

Housing Sex Working Women with Multiple and Complex Needs

This session will share:

  • the complex nature and diversity of the people involved in sex work, survival sex and those exposed to or at risk of sexual exploitation, focusing on the voices of the women to demonstrate some of the issues they have endured
  • the complexity of the women and the links with homelessness, trauma and re-victimisation
  • an understanding of the term survival sex and the risks around this
  • an understanding of sexual exploitation and how people can be targeted
  • ways to provide housing for women who are sex working
  • case studies of real situations to show the challenges women face
  • how Basis have gathered women’s opinions and experiences in order to approach Leeds City Council for more flexible housing, and then worked closely with housing officers to take them with you into prison, on outreach  and drop in sessions to hear women’s voices and what outcomes and changes you are seeing as a result of this work.
  • how organisations can become more accessible and supportive to women involved in sex work, both on street and indoors

Responding to the complexity of homeless relationships through a partnership between the homelessness sector and women’s services

This session will share:

  • the impact a lack of gender specific services can have on the women
  • the various experiences of women living on the streets and their methods of staying safe
  • how services can become more gender informed and responsive to the needs of women
  • the unique partnerships that brings together both women’s services and the homelessness sector to better serve women experiencing homelessness and the impact this approach is having.

Designing, delivering and commissioning cross sector partnerships: a collaborative approach to reaching women experiencing multiple disadvantage, violence and abuse

Drawing on the strategic and operational learning from three London based partnership projects that bring together the women’s and homelessness sectors, this session will share:

  • -an overview of the difficulties women experience when navigating the current service landscape 
  • how a partnership approach can overcome the multiple barriers that women experiencing multiple disadvantage face in accessing specialist support around violence and abuse
  • what partnership responses should look like 
  • practical ideas and operational aids to successful cross sector learning and collaboration
  • srengths, challenges and opportunities from the perspectives of commissioning
  • how to provide holistic support to women experiencing multiple disadvantage, including hearing from the voices of women accessing the services on what support works for them.

Women’s Health and rough sleeping; delivering support and healthcare to women sleeping on the streets

This session will share:

  • the different approach needed to support women who are rough sleeping and how this approach differs from that needed for men. 
  • how health (including sexual health) interventions are delivered
  • how the intersection of health and homelessness delivery works in practice through a gendered lens
  • the role that domestic violence plays within a street community and how workers can support women in their relationships to be safe and to make good choices when the opportunities present themselves
  • how working across agencies and sectors can provide the holistic support necessary to support women effectively who live on the street.      

Abuse and homelessness: supporting women experiencing homelessness who have also experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, domestic abuse

This session will share:

  • the evidence base around the connections between violence, abuse and women’s homelessness
  • the experiences of this group of women and their perspective on what effective services and support would look like 
  • promising practice in supporting women experiencing  homelessness who have also experienced, or are at risk of experiencing , domestic abuse
  • why trauma-informed and gender-informed services matter for women experiencing homelessness
  • the co presenting issues for this group of women including mental health and substance use.
  • the views of service providers on the challenges and opportunities of delivering services for women experiencing multiple disadvantage

Identifying victims of modern slavery amongst homeless women and understanding how to intervene to protect them

This session will share:

  • how to identify victims of modern slavery amongst homeless women
  • the right steps that should be taken to intervene to protect them
  • how to effectively protect women exiting the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for the identification of victims of trafficking from homelessness and further exploitation through multi-agency working
  • details of the housing and support model provided by Amari that acts as a pathway into secure housing for some of the UK’s most vulnerable women
  • details of tailored support that can be provided to give women the skills needed to live independently, and address past traumas
  • innovative ways to facilitate move on.