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Women, Addictions, Mental Health, Dishonesty, and Crime Stigma: Solutions to Reduce the Social Harms of Stigma

PAGE, Sarah, FEDOROWICZ, Sophia, MCCORMACK, Fiona and Whitehead, Stephen (2023) Women, Addictions, Mental Health, Dishonesty, and Crime Stigma: Solutions to Reduce the Social Harms of Stigma. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 21 (1). ISSN 1660-4601

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Abstract or description

British drug policies could underserve women with treatment needs, and this paper provides evidence that communication through the words and actions of professionals across drug and alcohol services, health and mental health, social work and the criminal justice sector can leave women feeling stigmatised and failed. Women live with the stigma of ‘the lying addict’; however, documents and courtroom statements provided by professionals can misrepresent women’s experiences, which exacerbates social harm. Data are drawn from feminist participatory action re-search, where female lived experience experts worked alongside academics to implement a qualitative study using interviews and focus groups with women using treatment services (n = 28) and an online world café with professionals working with these women (n = 9) and further professionals providing support at lived experience data collection events (n = 5). This data set is cross-referenced with one-to-one and small-group interviews with professionals in the field (n = 17) conducted by a third-sector partner. Findings establish that stigma negatively impacts the identification of treatment needs and access to timely and appropriate service delivery. Social harms to women with addictions could be significantly reduced with timely, authentic, honest, gender-informed and trauma-informed practices for girls and women using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate from traumatic experiences.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Sociology, Criminology and Terrorism
Depositing User: Sarah PAGE
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2024 15:46
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 15:46

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