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Tackling Women’s Multiple Disadvantage in Greater Manchester

This briefing sets out key strategic recommendations aimed at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and local authority decision makers. These have been developed in consultation with local partners and women with lived experience and highlight key strategic and positive opportunities in the current policy landscape across the Greater Manchester region.

They cover:

  • Strategic responses
  • Gender and trauma-informed practice
  • Co-production and working with experts by experience
  • Commissioning and funding
  • Responses to COVID-19


A new briefing by women’s rights charities highlights that over 60,000 women and girls in Manchester have experienced extensive violence and abuse in their lifetime. It calls for all local authorities in Greater Manchester to work together to ensure the most marginalised women are included and involved in its Covid-19 recovery plans.


Key recommendations

  • Commissioners across Greater Manchester, must work with the specialist women’s sector at a regional and local level to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic on women facing multiple disadvantage are recognised and responded to.
  • GMCA and local authorities should fully involve the specialist women and girl’s sector when developing strategies, commissioning services and identifying gaps in service provision.
  • Public services across Greater Manchester must ensure staff make trained enquiries about domestic and sexual abuse and respond appropriately with clear pathways into appropriate trauma-informed support.
  • Women with lived experience of multiple disadvantage must be centred and their contributions prioritised at all levels of decision making across GMCA to help design and commission services differently.
  • GMCA should set out clearly in its Gender-based Abuse Strategy, Health and Justice and Homelessness Prevention Strategies commissioning processes and specifications that prioritise long-term funding for specialist women’s services to ensure the sustainability of vital organisations.

The organisations point to strengths in Greater Manchester’s response to date, including taking rapid action to support those rough sleeping during the first national lockdown. They call for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to act with similar drive and harness opportunities to build on existing good practice in the area to ensure the most disadvantaged women are not further impacted by the pandemic.

“Women and girls experiencing multiple inequalities are some of the most at risk in our society. Lockdown has had dire consequences for women and girls. They have faced higher rates of poor mental health, domestic violence cases have soared, and many have been plunged into poverty. Something must be done.”

Donna Covey, CEO of AVA

“Our work in Greater Manchester has shown that systems and services currently do not work for the most disadvantaged women, with too many falling through the gaps in support. Local authorities have real power to make a difference and transform their response. Rebuilding after the pandemic provides a key opportunity to do things differently, co-ordinating and encouraging all parts of the system to work together better to transform women’s lives.”

Jess Southgate, CEO of Agenda

As the pandemic has deepened it has further intensified the challenges experienced by women and girls facing multiple disadvantage, leaving many in a critical situation. It is vital that local authorities across Greater Manchester work with specialist charities to ensure the right strategies are developed and services funded and provided, so that all women and girls get the help they need to stay safe and rebuild their lives. At Lloyds Bank Foundation we have been pleased to fund this report and hope it will be a spur to lasting change”

Caroline Howe, Policy & National Programmes Manager for Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales
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