In the eleventh of our 16 blogs for 16 days, Zoe Snelgrove, Team Leader at GamCare explains why women victims of DVA are more likely to develop gambling problems and what the team at GamCare can do to help them.
Given that men are more likely to experience problem gambling than women, it may not be a surprise that the majority of the callers to the National Gambling Helpline, 70% in fact, are men. But there are real problems behind the perception that problem gambling is mostly a ‘male issue’.
Using GamCare and Gambling Commission data, we estimate that only around 1% of women who experience gambling related harm contact the National Gambling Helpline. There is no doubt that women are underrepresented in gambling specific treatment. We are worried that problem gambling is a much more hidden problem for women, and we want to encourage more women to feel comfortable to seek support. Feelings of shame about gambling problems often hold people back from talking about the issue, and this could be even worse for women.
For many women, a compulsion to gamble may be influenced by difficult emotional experiences in their lives and pasts. The implications for this on women who experience domestic abuse mean that they are particularly susceptible to developing issues with gambling. For these women gambling gives them a chance to temporarily escape from difficult thoughts and feelings. It could be gambling is seen as a solution to the situation they are experiencing, women may gamble to win enough money to be able to leave their partner. It could even be that their partner is withholding money and they gamble to provide money for themselves, and even their family, to survive.
So, a picture is starting to build where female problem gamblers are less likely to reach out for help themselves, and the existing routes into treatment have historically been directed more at men. Moreover, it is the most vulnerable women in our society who are more likely to experience a problem and could benefit from support, but yet, they are the least likely to seek it.
GamCare is a national provider of free information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling. Gamcare have just been successful in gaining funding from the Tampon Tax Fund to deliver a Women’s Programme across England, Scotland and Wales.
The project will build a nationwide network of local public sector and third sector organisations that work with women, to spread awareness of the problem gambling and its many impacts, and how it relates to other issues that women may face. We aim to build up our referral network into gambling treatment for women so that we can encourage more women to receive the right help and support, preferably before issues become catastrophic.
- in your service affected by problem gambling;
- with an aim of upskilling staff around early identification, advice, signposting and referral;
- to women affected by problem gambling;
- for ongoing support and advice.
If you have any questions or would like some more information, please contact Zoe Snelgrove, Team Leader via email Zoe.Snelgrove@Gamcare.org.uk or telephone 07916019821
You can take a look at the GamCare website here.