Over the past three years, and with support from the Pilgrim Trust, the organisation has grown hugely with more than 90 members and recently became an independent charity, with a board of trustees chaired by Fiona Mactaggart.
Following Agenda’s research showing the disproportionate use of restraint against women and girls, they joined with other organisations to ensure Seni’s Law, aimed at reducing the use of restraint in mental health units, successfully passed through Parliament. It became law in November 2018 , following Agenda’s high-profile work on the deaths of women detained under the Mental Health Act, which was featured on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, the BBC’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ and The Guardian, among others.
The organisation has also been working with the Department of Health and Social Care, co-chairing the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce alongside Mental Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price MP. The Taskforce’s report setting out recommendations for improved care was published at the end of last year.
Women and girls facing multiple disadvantages such as violence and abuse, mental health issues, homelessness and poverty are particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus crisis. They may have little access to money and food, limited means to protect themselves and are much more likely to fall through the cracks when services are struggling.
Agenda’s new research into the how women have been affected by the Covid Pandemic, funded by the Pilgrim Trust, will be formed of qualitative interviews with women and professionals and surveys of services.
The research will be completed over three phases of Covid, to get a sense not only of the immediate impact of lockdown but also the longer-term effects, as we move to new phases of response, in particular as the economic impact starts to emerge, and rebuilding further ahead. The interim findings of the research have been published and show that services supporting the most disadvantaged women and girls face huge difficulties with demand surging but emergency funding dropping off.
Image with kind permission of Agenda