Why Are Our Services Needed?

Women’s experiences have to be understood in the context of a social world where we are still far from achieving equality for women. Women still: face sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, are largely excluded from boardrooms, experience more poverty, and are the victims of actual and potential sexual violence both in and outside our homes. Women are still expected to look pretty, speak quietly, and act gently, and if we deviate from this stereotypical behaviour, we are often judged as “bad”, “mad” or both.

Our services recognise the oppression women experience, with women being judged by a different value system to men. As a consequence, women are more harshly judged in the secure psychiatric and criminal justice systems. It is important to remember that these systems were created by men for men, which is why gender-specific services are so vital.

Facts & Findings

  • The Corston Report of 2007 emphasised the importance of gender-specific needs-led work to address the multiple needs of vulnerable women and to help them achieve resettlement, yet in 2010, less than a third of NHS Trusts reported steps to include gender issues in assessment and care planning, and just a third of Trusts said that they provide gender-sensitive services
  • Employment outcomes for women following short prison sentences are three times worse than for men
  • Fewer than one in 10 women released from a prison sentence of under 12 months manage to secure a ‘positive employment outcome’ within a year of release, which is three times worse than for men
  • Female patients in high security hospitals, in comparison to male patients, are significantly more likely to:
  • Have experienced sexual and/or physical abuse in childhood
  • Have experienced problems with alcohol misuse and/or dependency
  • Self-harm
  • Have never experienced employment
  • Women are often labelled and boxed into a particular service, but Wish looks more holistically and sees how a woman’s life experiences and mental health can interlink, with 53% of women who have mental health problems also having experienced abuse. A woman in poverty will also be more likely to face poor mental health, with 29% of women in poverty experiencing a common mental health disorder compared to 16% of women not in poverty.