This Spotlight features a list of up-to-date and freely available research and resources on the topic of trauma informed practice and women.
Traumatic experiences result ‘from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening, such as intimate partner violence or childhood sexual abuse. Trauma can also be experienced as a result of structural violence, that is, the multiple ways that political, economic and social structures result in injustice, inequality and marginalisation. A trauma-informed approach requires an awareness of a person’s history of trauma and understanding the impact that violence and victimisation has in their lives. The aim is to move away from a victim-blaming deficit focus towards a strengths-based approach, asking ‘what has happened to you?’ rather than ‘what is wrong with you?
A framework that is grounded in understanding and responding to trauma is important in any service that supports women, due to the links between poor mental health and experiences of gendered violence, including family violence and sexual abuse. A trauma-informed approach should recognise how socio-cultural factors such as gender inequality, power, colonisation and disenfranchisement give rise to victimisation and are barriers to seeking support. Using this intersectional lens, behaviours that may be considered ‘difficult’ are understood as appropriate responses or adaptations to trauma.
Women's Health Victoria (2019) Spotlight on trauma-informed practice and women. Women's Health Victoria. Melbourne. - (Spotlight; November 2019)