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Women’s Treatment Working Group

Women who want to change the way they use drugs and alcohol have different needs to men. These include greater stigma attached to their drug and alcohol use, experiences of gender based violence and trauma, and caring responsibilities.

The women’s treatment group brings together representatives from specialist women’s services and women’s service leads in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services to work collaboratively, share learning and collectively problem solve to ensure that women receive effective and appropriate community and residential drug and alcohol services.

In February 2022, the newly formed Women’s Treatment Group wrote to the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, highlighting the need to ensure the forthcoming commissioning standards and national outcomes framework reflect fully the specific needs of women, across all elements of their life course, in order to improve outcomes for the women we serve.

Since then, the group has presented at All Party Parliamentary Group meetings, conferences, and delivered an International Women’s Day webinar, about gender-specific treatment needs and frontline service practices. You can read about the activities of the groups in this guest blog by Hannah Shead who chaired the group until December 2023.

The group is self-facilitated and rotates it chair. It is currently chaired by Kirsty Day, Director of Recovery Services at the Nelson Trust. Collective Voice attends and provides support to the group.

The Terms of Reference can be accessed here.

Expressions of interest can be submitted via this Form.

Research, guidance and good practice

The rate of both alcohol and drug related deaths in women has increased in recent years. This is a conversation which we all need to be having much more often and, as such, we’ve brought together some of the latest research and information on women’s experiences of treatment, to help providers, commissioners and others to shape future delivery with the specific needs of women more formally in focus.

In this area you’ll find recent research, guidance documents and good practice reports around women’s treatment and recovery in one place. Happy reading!

If you would like to see your report featured here, or if you have feedback on this page please email


A system designed for women? Understanding the barriers women face in accessing drug treatment and support services (We Are With You, 2021)

Covid-19 and Women’s Homelessness: A learning review of the situation of women who sex work in Leeds (Homeless Link and Basis Yorkshire, 2021)

Prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Greater Manchester, UK: An active case ascertainment study (McCarthy and others, 2021)

Why women-only? The value and benefits of by women, for women services (Women’s Resource Centre, 2007)

Women and Addiction: A Trauma-Informed Approach (Stephanie S. Covington, 2008)

Women, domestic abuse and someone else’s substance misuse (Adfam, 2020)

Good practice

Keeping a Face for the World: A WY-FI Analysis of Women’s Experiences, Journeys and Outcomes (The WY-FI Project, 2020)

Mapping the Maze – Services for women experiencing multiple disadvantage in England and Wales: Final Report and Executive Summary (Agenda, Ava and Barrow Cadbury Trust, 2017)

Women and Drug Related Deaths – Short Life Working Group Report and Recommendations (Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce, 2021)


Collective Voice is the national charity working to improve England’s drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems