Women with highly complex needs: how can services deliver effectively for this group?

Date and time: 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 09:30 to 15:45


The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield, S1 4FW

Women who have highly complex needs usually experience multiple disadvantages including substance misuse, homelessness, mental health problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and domestic abuse.
If services are to succeed in addressing women’s problems and supporting them to turn their lives around, they have to be offered in a format and environment with which women will engage – and remain engaged.
Many women with highly complex needs have had problematic relationships with services previously (eg have had one or more children taken into care) and find it hard to build trusting relationships.
There can also be structural problems with the way that services operate, for example, widespread reports of difficulty in accessing mental health services, and ongoing problems where one service (eg a domestic violence refuge) will not accept women with other problems (eg substance misuse or involved with crime).
How, then, do we build, and commission, services that work for women with highly complex needs?
One important area for consideration is the value of women only services, or women only spaces within general services. The consensus is that women experience trauma differently from men, and that the burden of child-bearing and child-rearing responsibilities create different experiences for women.

This learning day will consider how expectations gaps develop between service users and service providers, and how – in practical ways – this situation can be turned around.
One of the facilitators will be a former service user with lived experience.