New research exploring practitioners’ experiences of supporting women


New qualitative research has just been published by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience exploring UK practitioners experiences of supporting women with co-occurring histories of interpersonal abuse, PTSD symptoms and substance use. Based on a sample of 14 practitioners based in substance use, mental health, criminal justice and domestic/sexual violence sectors.The aim of this study was to explore how services in England have developed practice responses with limited historical precedence for this work.

Three key interlinking themes were identified: practitioners’ philosophical approach; tailored clinical practice, and system responsiveness. Analyses identified the importance of relational, non-pathologising practice, extensive focus on physical and emotional safety, and cautionary approaches towards using trauma-specific treatments involving trauma disclosure. Challenges included poor service integration, time-limited treatments and tokenistic trauma informed practice.

You can access this article here.


Lords speech by Baroness Newlove highlights the cost of domestic violence

Baroness Newlove (the former Victim’s commissioner) gave a speech in the House of Lords earlier this summer focusing on domestic violence. She highlighted the British Crime Survey results indicating  ‘2 million people were victims of domestic abuse, with women twice as likely to be victims as men’. Her speech further focused upon the estimated annual cost of domestic abuse citing £66 billion, ‘with an average cost for a victim of being over £34,000.’ Her speech then moved onto unconditional police bail and how this practice leads to an increased risk for victims. She concluded by calling for more funding for domestic violence services which she describes as ‘threadbare’.  She believes part of the focus should be funding professionally trained workers who are then able to protect vulnerable victims more successfully.

Baroness Armstrong responded to her speech by further highlighting that many victims have complex needs such as addiction, homelessness and mental health problems due to a lifelong experiences of abuse, neglect and violence. She calls for an improvement and understanding of how to work with these victims. Feedback from victims of domestic violence gave a strong message that the first front line workers victims speak to must recognise abuse and trauma.

Find out more about this debate here.