Why Women's Voices are Important

One of the central recommendations from the No Wrong Door report (2008) was:

"Women who use services are the reason for the service and must have a primary role in efforts to improve community coordination and integration and making services more helpful and effective. Service sectors and providers need to think carefully about the important role of women and make legitimate space for women of experience to exercise their role."

Women and service providers recommended action to strengthen women’s participation to improve service delivery and integration including:

  • Provide women with information and opportunities for engagement
  • Clarify values within organizations to support women’s involvement
  • Build knowledge and leadership with women
  • Engage women and providers in dialogue for change
  • Evaluate where we are and where we need to go

What women say is important to make services be more effective and helpful

Women involved in the No Wrong Door research (2008) identified seven areas for change that will make services more effective for women dealing with mental health, addiction and abuse issues

  1. Identify abuse issues sooner: Provide more information for women about abuse, the impact of abuse and its connection to mental health and addiction issues. Train providers to identify past and current abuse, the impact of current and past abuse on a woman’s help seeking behaviours, safety issues for abused women (including how abusers continue to control women), and the connection between past and current abuse and her mental health and addiction issues. Provide earlier interventions to address childhood and current abuse issues (proactive instead of reactive response).
  2. Educate doctors and psychiatrists about abuse, the impact of abuse on mental health, community services and supports, proper use of medications with women with current and/or past abuse/trauma issues, the doctor’s role in service coordination.
  3. Provide services that equip women with tools, skills, options, where she can gain control of her life.
  4. Coordinate community services and develop an integrated service delivery model for women with abuse, mental health and addiction issues.
  5. Change community attitudes that stigmatize and isolate women with abuse, mental health and addiction issues. Provide information to professionals, families, and friends on how to support women and children in a positive way.
  6. Make changes in the legal system (criminal and family court) so abusers cannot manipulate, control and intimidate women with mental health and addiction issues.
  7. Improve services and supports for children who witness abuse and parenting supports for women dealing with abuse, mental health and addiction issues.