This service was designed to respond to the needs of women accessing treatment who often had significant histories of trauma and abuse both in childhood and as an adult.

We designed a service that reflected and responded to the life experiences and needs of the women accessing it. We brought in evidence-based programmes for women including those developed by Dr Stephanie Covington. We also designed our own range of therapeutic activities that supported women to understand the trauma has on their lives and explore the correlation with their substance misuse.

residential treatment

Trauma-informed care

The women’s houses are staffed by experienced female counsellors and trauma-informed recovery workers. We provide a children’s visiting facility in a self-contained flat so that women who are mothers can have their children to stay overnight. Where there is a need to provide supervised contact with their children this need can be accommodated. Clients are also able to access a range of specialist support services at our Women’s Centres which are operated by the Nelson Trust in Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol and Bridgwater. We also provide an outreach service in Wales. This includes a specialist Women’s Safety Worker and gender-specific aftercare support.

The Women’s Service programme includes trauma specific programmes, women-only process groups, trauma recovery group, eating recovery group and a specialist women’s workshop programme. We have a timetable of specific programmes for women, including programmes for women who have experienced domestic violence, and those who have a sex-working background. Dedicated sexual health support is also provided.

Individual care plans

We take a holistic trauma-informed approach, addressing physical and mental well-being, relationships and wider social issues, offering a structured care plan that is designed to meet each woman’s individual needs. Building internal and external safety is a fundamental part of every woman’s recovery journey. Women can choose from a range of therapeutic activities – workshops, courses, groups and individual counselling – which means that their recovery is truly person-centred.

Women will feel more empowered, improve their personal sense of well-being, and develop their self-esteem and life skills during their treatment. Many of the workshops are designed and delivered in a trauma-informed way.

Family therapy

Women and their families – can access expert help from our Family Therapy team. We also provide housing and finance support, and we offer a comprehensive education and training programme. (Some elements of the education and training programme will be in integrated groups with our mixed-gender programme.) We support all our clients to achieve their personal goals and aspirations, build confidence to continue their recovery back in the community, and move forward towards education, employment, settled housing and lifelong independence.

Who is it for?

The Women’s Service programme is for any woman (17 or over) who wants to address their drug or alcohol dependence in a female-only and abstinent environment. All clients are required to be drug and alcohol free on arrival, having already completed detox if necessary. Women who would find this service to be particularly relevant are: those with a history of childhood sexual abuse , domestic and sexual violence or of sex-working;  women with a pattern of relapse linked to forming unhelpful relationships with men, perhaps in previous treatment episodes; or women with children who would like to make use of the Children’s Visiting Facility.

We can work with women who have a diagnosed mental health condition and those who are still involved with the criminal justice system: for example we can manage Home Detention Curfew conditions and we work closely with Probation services for those on supervision orders.

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