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Women in the greatest need are being let down by a lack of local support | Public Leaders Network

Nobody ever turned as much as a substance misuse clinic in need of support solely for substance misuse, says Pip Williams, who spent 26 years dwelling with alcohol and drug dependency. At the similar time, she grappled with mental health issues, an abusive relationship, homelessness and durations of dropping her youngsters to care.

“When you’re a lady with a number of issues you face a selection: we’ve got to cope with what’s killing us first – is it substance misuse or is it domestic violence,” she explains. “Support for those things can only be accessed in silos; there needs to be a place where woman can get holistic help for it all – and before they reach crisis.”

Now in restoration, Williams has gone on to discovered a support community for pregnant women in danger of having youngsters with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders. She has contributed to Mapping the Maze, a report by Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) and Agenda, the alliance for women and women in danger. The report highlights the complicated and fragmented nature of provision in local authorities throughout England and Wales – with some areas having a vary of providers for women, and others having none in any respect.

Gathered via FOI requests, right here are some of the report’s most troubling findings:

Women are bounced between providers

Only 19 out of 173 local authority areas in England and Wales have providers for women that handle all the following issues: substance misuse, psychological health, homelessness, offending and sophisticated wants. Nine areashad no proof of any of these providers for women by any means.

The overwhelming majority of providers obtainable throughout England and Wales tackle single issues – so women are bounced between providers, having to repeat their tales a number of occasions and are typically unable to get the assist they need.

Support with substance misuse isn’t tailor-made to women

Women make up round a third of individuals accessing drug remedy providers – with that determine growing to just about 40% for alcohol providers, in accordance with the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System.

But solely simply shy of half of all local authority areas in England have support providers particularly for women experiencing substance misuse, in accordance with the Mapping the Maze report. In Wales solely 22.7% of authorities are house to localised support of this type.

Substance misuse midwives accounted for greater than a third of substance misuse providers discovered, feeding into a wider discovering that greater than a quarter of all support for women dealing with a number of drawback is for pregnant women or these with a younger child.

Women are generally invited to hitch a weekly women’s group, housed inside a generic substance misuse service. The report argues that this tends to be an add-on moderately than at the core of formal restoration programmes, with one lady interviewed for the report saying she felt these teams have been “something to tick a box rather than something [organisations] are committed to”.

The report additionally notes that it’s disappointing that solely solely ten of the 129 residential rehabilitation providers listed on Public Health England’s website are solely for women.

Resistance to offering gender-specific psychological health support

The report notes that 104 English local authorities and 5 Welsh unitary authorities providesupport for women experiencing psychological health issues, with the voluntary sector enjoying a big position in delivering these providers.

More than half (55%) of psychological health support recognized in the report was aimed toward pregnant women and new moms.

Anecdotally, offering gender particular support for women who don’t fall beneath maternity or perinatal is met with “notable resistance” from a number of medical commissioning teams. A typical response was that “all commissioned services are for men and women equally”.

Donna Covey, director of AVA, want to see a change in mindset. “We know that delivering the same service for everyone doesn’t deliver equality of outcomes,” she explains. “To be effective, services needs to be trauma-informed and women specific. Central government needs to take the lead in making sure that these women get the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

Mapping the maze

AVA and Agenda have created an interactive map, pinpointing the place specialist support is out there for women affected by substance use, psychological ill-health, homelessness and offending. It may even assist to determine gaps in provision, and each organisations are encouraging voluntary organisations, commissioners and public service professionals to make use of the map as a useful resource.

Covey says many local authority commissioners have a poor understanding of what women experiencing a number of drawback need and need and don’t recognize the significance of women-specific providers.

The report makes a quantity of suggestions for commissioners and different professionals to deal with this, together with:

  • Speak to women with lived expertise and instantly contain them in the commissioning course of.
  • Promote a trauma-informed tradition. Recognise that many women experiencing a number of drawback may even have skilled gender-based violence.
  • Be gender conscious – specialist providers are usually simpler than generic ones – and know that provision of specialist women’s providers doesn’t breach the Equality Act 2010.
  • Build longevity and adaptability into tenders. Helping women with complicated lives in unlikely to suit neatly inside short-term targets.
  • Practice joint commissioning and fee throughout localities. Commissioners also needs to ask bidders to reveal how they may guarantee ease of entry to providers.

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