Trauma-informed approaches for women

Lauren Bear, Dr Graham Durcan and Jessica Southgate

28 November 2019

How are trauma-informed approaches being implemented by public services – and what are the barriers to embedding the approach more widely?

Produced jointly with Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, A sense of safety: Trauma-informed approaches for women explores how trauma-informed approaches are being implemented by public services including women’s centres, prisons and mental health services.

We know that there are strong links between traumatic experiences and poor mental health. The need for public services to be trauma-informed has been repeatedly demonstrated, for instance in our report earlier this year. A sense of safety summarises the findings of interviews and site visits to a range of public services for women, including substance misuse, homelessness, mental health, the criminal justice system, and domestic and sexual abuse and exploitation.

It finds that services taking a holistic approach to supporting women’s needs were best able to make the change to becoming trauma-informed. However, many organisations faced barriers including short-term and fragile funding.


We are calling for a range of actions, including:  All public services to become trauma- and gender-informed; NICE to incorporate trauma-informed principles into its guidance; Service commissioners to adopt trauma-informed principles; All inspectorate bodies to incorporate trauma-informed principles; The next Government to lead the way in putting these principles into practice


This report is free to download below. Please consider making a donation to enable us to carry out further life-changing research.

Last updated: 19th February, 2020