Evaluation of Women as Protectors
We evaluated the Women as Protectors service to find out what changed for women who attended the 10-week programme or a subsequent period of mentoring with a community volunteer, and how the service could be improved.
How we evaluated this service
We measured women’s mental and emotional wellbeing and their confidence in their abilities as parents by administering the same set of psychometric tools at the start of the programme, the end, and again six months later.
Women reported other changes they had experienced during the programme by answering a questionnaire, and gave further detail about changes in their lives through interviews.
Additional perspectives on women’s outcomes and the service itself were gathered through semi-structured interviews with their referring social workers, mentors, the practitioners who delivered the service, and a small number of children who took part in the safety awareness sessions.
> Read our evaluation report
This evaluation used the following tools:
- Adult Wellbeing Scale
- Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
- Tool to measure Parenting Self-Efficacy (TOPSE).
What we learnt about the service
- There were distinct advantages to delivering the programme in a group-work environment rather than on a one-to-one basis.
- Women liked the programme but were less accepting of the mentoring element and safety awareness sessions offered to their children.
- To optimise the service, the standardised nature of the service offer to children may need to be reconsidered. The operational issues identified in connection to the delivery and set up of the programme and mentoring phase will also need to be resolved.
What we learnt about women who attended the programme
By the end of the programme, four out of five women were assessed by professional social workers as having the capacity to protect their children from sexual harm.
During the programme women:
- made measurable advances in their mental and emotional wellbeing;
- gained confidence in their parenting;
- reported gains in knowledge and understanding about sexual abuse and felt better able to communicate about this with their children;
- and felt empowered to make decisions about men who were deemed a risk.
Altogether, these changes moved women into a stronger position to protect their children from the risks posed by the man in their lives.
The positive changes in women’s mental health and perceptions of their parenting endured over the following six months, and were sometimes enhanced through a phase of mentoring.