Women’s organisations ‘net beneath the net’ seeks to increase further understanding of the role
of Women’s Voluntary and Community Organisations (WVCOs), the value of specialist women’s
organisations both within and beyond the area of violence against women and girls and highlights
the need for women specialist services, particularly those that are led by and for ethnic minority
women. With increased knowledge and interest we would urge commissioners and decision
makers to recognise the value of the women’s VCOs and understand that supporting women
supports families and wider society.
Despite recognition of the women’s VCOs added value, some commissioners concede that their
knowledge of women’s voluntary and community organisations is limited.
This e-guide is in recognition of the value of women’s VCOs across a wide range of issues.
Furthermore to provide commissioners with knowledge about women’s VCOs as they grapple
with ‘efficiency savings’ and shrinking commissioning departments in local government and
health directed to the streamlining of public and social services. There is a very real danger of
losing the knowledge and skills of the women’s VCOs as they are further marginalised within these
policy agendas.
Women’s VCOs “seek to improve the status and situation of women”.1 Embedded in communities,
women’s VCOs work with many of the most marginalised and vulnerable women within society.
They have a unique reach within communities and fill essential gaps in statutory provision often
created because mainstream services are non-existent or inappropriate. As the ‘net beneath the
net,’ women’s VCOs meet the needs of marginalised women and provide them with a public
The economic benefits of women specialist services are significant, saving the state millions of
pounds per year, such as through improving women’s job opportunities or through preventing revictimisation
(e.g. domestic violence) or health problems arising or worsening.1 For example,
women-only services are value for money. A social return on investment analysis of specialist
women’s services found that for every £1 invested in those surveyed, between £5 and £11 worth of
social value was generated for the women, their families, the State and local economies and

Read the full briefing here.

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