Unique role of outreach in supporting women with multiple and complex needs

11 March 2021, 19:30 - 21:00
Online event

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Women involved in prostitution often have intersecting experiences such as rough sleeping, substance misuse, and trafficking, that lead to multiple and complex support needs. The structuring of service provision in the UK remains fragmented and often responds only to single needs, resulting in people having to access a range of different services to receive appropriate support. Outreach services, specifically for women involved in prostitution, can help to address the barriers they face in accessing services and receiving support.


In 2016, a London based charity received funding from the Community Fund (formerly Big Lottery) Women and Girls initiative to provide an outreach service for women involved in or at risk of prostitution. Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, Dr Melanie Boyce and Anna Dadswell, were commissioned to undertake an independent research evaluation to assess the delivery and impact of the outreach service and how it supports women in their journey towards exiting prostitution.


This presentation will focus on the findings of the evaluation, including the realities of the women’s lives and experiences, the unique role of outreach in supporting these women, and the value of working in partnership, as well as some of the challenges in delivering and researching outreach for women with multiple and complex needs.

Dr Melanie Boyce

Melanie is a senior research fellow in the School of Education and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK. She joined ARU in 2004, as a Research Assistant, having recently completed her Masters in Social Research Methods, from London South Bank University. Initially Melanie worked on a number of nationally funded projects, in the area of mental health and social inclusion, where her interest in stigmatised groups, experiential ways of knowing and peer led initiatives developed. Since then Melanie’s research has focused on undertaking community-based research with groups of people who are often defined as marginalised, due to their health and/or social situation - particularly around women with multiple and complex needs. An emphasis and commitment within Melanie’s research is on the unique role of experiential ways of knowing and peer led initiatives and the ethics and politics of undertaking research with marginalised groups. Underpinning Melanie's research is a commitment to feminist forms of inquiry and participatory methodologies that has practical and meaningful benefits for those involved.

Anna Dadswell

Anna is a Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University. She is particularly interested in inclusive and creative methodologies to explore and enhance the mental health and wellbeing of different groups, including women and young people. As an Early Career Researcher, she is currently undertaking her doctorate which takes a feminist post-constructionist perspective on how young women with anxiety understand and manage anxiety in their everyday lives. Further research interests include the role of creative arts in mental health and wellbeing, and building and maintaining social relationships.

Event Details

11 March 2021, 19:30 - 21:00
Online event
FREE booking essential
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