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Women’s Treatment Working Group

For many women, turning up at drug and alcohol treatment services can be a daunting experience.

Women face different challenges to accessing services to start with, and their experiences once they are in a service can be different too. 

Alcohol and drug treatment has not consistently been designed or adapted specifically for women, and it rarely caters for their distinctive needs. This needs to change.

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.


The group partners are:

  • Bristol Drugs Project
  • Change Grow Live
  • Changing Lives
  • Cranstoun
  • Humankind
  • Phoenix Futures
  • Trevi
  • Turning Point
  • WDP
  • With You
  • Working With Everyone


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