An evaluation report of GamCare’s training sessions for professionals has found that 85% of participants improved their understanding of gambling harms, including how to identify women in need of gambling-related support.
Entering its third year, GamCare’s Women’s Programme works toward creating systemic change across policy, research and treatment to address the under-representation of women seeking support and accessing treatment, throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The Women’s Programme brings together a team of training and engagement leads who have a vast range of skills and experience from multiple sectors, including health and social care, mental health, domestic abuse and education. The training aims to improve professionals’ understanding of the impact that problem gambling has on women, which helps in raising awareness and signposting towards support services.
The evaluation report, produced by inFocus Consulting, details the programme’s work across its second year as it continues to work towards reducing the gambling-related harm experienced by women. This year, the programme delivered training to 918 organisations across the UK. After receiving training, 97% of professionals understood how problem gambling impacts women they work with, with 96% of professionals reporting improved confidence in their ability to signpost and refer women to gambling support services.
The Women’s Programme training quickly moved online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the programme’s reach. Many women have benefitted from improved access to GamCare treatment and support services, including staff of organisations serving mental health and wellbeing needs, such as Mind, professionals working in local authorities and those working in housing support services. In training sessions, the programme achieved a 25% improvement in professionals’ understanding of how gambling harm can impact the women they work with – 85% of professionals improved their understanding after participating in the year two training, compared with 60% of professionals from the year one training.
Women can be disproportionately affected by gambling-related harms, experiencing financial, relationship and mental health issues. Over the past year, there was a 6% increase in the number of women accessing gambling support in the UK, which GamCare Women’s Programme is likely to have positively contributed to. This report also sets out how the programme plans to build on these successes in the coming year. Moving forward, the programme will increase awareness of gambling support services for women and strengthen information and knowledge shared in this subject area, by building an online community.
To increase access to support, the programme has supported the development of a women-only chat room and a women-only support group. The programme will train professionals from organisations that work in currently underrepresented sectors, such as social care and youth services, since these organisations have closer proximity to women who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing gambling-related harms. In addition to this, the programme will raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals, and build stronger relationships with departments of the NHS and other healthcare service providers.
Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive of GamCare:
“We’re encouraged to see improved access for women using GamCare’s treatment and support services, and increased reach in our professionals training, which delivers improved understanding of how gambling harm impacts women. Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in the percentage of women contacting the National Gambling Helpline for support.”
Anna continues: “At GamCare, we know that stigma and shame are a key barrier to women disclosing concerns, either about their own gambling or someone close to them.The Women’s Programme works to reduce stigma, which affects women at risk of experiencing gambling harms, to better understand and break down the barriers they face when seeking treatment. Over the next year, we want to continue to raise awareness of how gambling harm affects women and to signpost the gambling support services available for women.
If you are struggling to manage, you are not alone. Our free service operates 24/7, on the phone and via live chat. If you need us, we are here. Anyone can call on 0808 8020 133 and speak to an advisor or contact the Helpline on live chat through the GamCare website, where they can also access a range of resources and be referred for free, confidential support sessions. This includes a women’s only chat room and women-only support group.”
Dr Damian Hatton, Managing Director and Senior Evaluator at inFocus Consulting:
“It has been a great pleasure to work with such a dedicated group of professionals, who are clearly committed to the advancement of gambling related support and services for women, which has been historically over-looked. We are excited to see how the insights from the evaluation can be put to best use in the coming months and years!”
Key Year Two highlights:
- The Women’s Programme training quickly moved online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled an increase in the programme’s reach. Many women have benefitted from the improved access to GamCare treatment and support services, including staff from mental health, housing support and local government organisations.
- Over the past year, there was a 6% increase in the number of women accessing gambling support in the UK, which GamCare Women’s Programme is likely to have positively contributed to, alongside other factors.
- Across the UK, 5,807 professionals and 918 organisations have been trained.
- Before the training, 81% of professionals trained in year two successfully identified all of the risk factors for problem gambling. This increased to 87% following the training.
- After the training, 97% of professionals trained in Year Two had an understanding of how problem gambling impacts the women they work with.
- 99 women impacted by gambling-related harms shared their experiences through the lived experience survey 2020-2021.
- Over a third of professionals consulted for the evaluation had identified women in need of gambling-related support since the training.
Read the full report: Impacts of GamCare’s Women’s Programme – Year Two