Women’s community services can significantly improve the well-being of vulnerable women, and in doing so help them achieve long-term changes in their lives.

The services offer women the key tools they need to begin to make changes – a feeling of being more in control of their lives, supportive relationships, a sense that their lives have meaning, and hope for the future.

By helping women to make positive changes their lives, women’s community services can help reduce demands on state services including police, courts and offender management, prisons and social services, primary and emergency healthcare, and housing. They can also improve the long-term outcomes for the children of their clients.

This report aims to support local commissioners and decision-makers in meeting the needs of vulnerable women efficiently and effectively. Its findings are the outcome of a year-long research collaboration between nef consulting and five women’s community services, which was funded by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Corston Independent Funders Coalition (CIFC) through the Women’s Diversionary Fund (WDF). It presents the views of clients and staff on the ways in which the services facilitate change by undertaking activities that improve women’s well-being. It offers primary evidence on the demonstrable impact services have on well-being and explores secondary evidence about how these impacts may contribute to reduced reoffending, improved health, and better outcomes for children.