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Blog: Building a case to be equally safe

In this blog, Emma Liddell, Evaluation Support Manager, talks about her experience working with Violence Against Women (VAW) Services across Scotland.

“I really just wanted to say ‘get stuffed!’ to evaluation but…damn this has actually been really useful!” Rape Crisis Service Manager

Women’s aid, rape crisis and campaigning organisations across Scotland will be involved in a number of awareness-raising activities promoting 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence. This is an international campaign that starts on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. The campaign hopes to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international level.

Supporting VAW organisations with their evaluation practice has been 18 months of learning for me and an amazing opportunity to help services build a stronger case for why they are such a vital support. At ESS when we hear the third sector cry of “we don’t have time to evaluate, we’re too busy saving the planet” we take a deep breath and stick to our mantra that, with evaluation, a little and often goes a long way. That said, in the case of VAW services, time really is of the essence and crisis is an everyday part of their lives.

Through the various evaluation workshops and tailored support sessions, we have explored ways of capturing the different experiences of the women and children using the services. Support workers are resolute in their non-judgemental approach; this often necessitates enabling women and children to live more safely in, and better manage, an abusive environment. There are also very happy stories of complete life changes and amazing outcomes so the evaluation approach has been developed to include a broad scope of journey.

Staff from a cross-representation of services, both local and national, have been meeting regularly over the past 18 months to become a consultation and action group for the duration of the fund. This has enabled us to share challenges and capture learning that included the creation of a new reporting template and plan how to build links between grassroots outcomes and wider national strategy.

As Scotland embraces a focus on preventative work, VAW services have been invited to apply for a one year grant from April 2015 that will prioritise services that can demonstrate effective early intervention. Our challenge at ESS is to respond to the changing focus and support these charities as they continue to reflect, learn and develop in ways that stay true to their values, build on their strengths, while also contributing to a Scotland that eradicates violence against women and children.

Read more about our support to VAW services here

To find out what’s happening in your area for the 16 days of action 


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