HEMS 3: Exploring multiple perspectives on trauma-informed care for women experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Sciences

Supervisors: Dr Melanie Boyce; Dr Sarah Burch

Location: Chelmsford

The interview for this project is expected to take place on Thursday 20 April.

This project is based in a third sector organisation supporting women who experience severe and multiple disadvantage. It is a mixed methods case study design and will explore multiple perspectives on trauma-informed care using a range of predominantly qualitative approaches.

In recent years, understandings of the prevalence and long-term effects of trauma have grown. In response, trauma-informed care has gained greater credence as the most effective way to deliver services to avoid re-traumatisation (Wilton and Williams, 2019).

The framing of trauma as a universal experience, whilst of value, ignores how it is often bound up with systems of power and oppression that tends to disproportionately affect those who are marginalised and experiencing multiple and severe disadvantages (Hodges and Burch, 2022).

Furthermore, the universal framing of trauma overlooks its gendered nature, as women are more likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder than men.

Hence, whilst interest in the principles and values of trauma-informed care have grown, in the UK its implementation and delivery remain fragmentary and largely underdeveloped (Asmussen et al., 2022). Differing interpretations and understanding of trauma-informed care typifies the situation with wide variations between geographical areas, services and professions (Emsley et al., 2022).

Project aims

The aim of this project is to explore how differing interpretations and delivery of trauma-informed care impact women experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage.

By doing so, the project will contribute to the evidence base on how trauma-informed care, in a UK context, is being interpreted and delivered in mainstream and voluntary sectors and provide insights on the impact of these different interpretations for women with severe and multiple disadvantage.

The research will be based in a woman’s organisation who support women experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage and will utilise a case study design to examine understandings on trauma-informed care from the perspective of service users, staff, volunteers and external service provider partners.

Utilising a predominately qualitative approach, you'll collaboratively work with the host organisation to develop a detailed methodological approach. Indicative methods are likely to include documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews, observation and quantitative analysis of outcome data.

You'll be part of the Women and Girls Research Interest Group, which is a cross-faculty network at ARU. Both supervisors are part of the steering group, and you'll have access to the interest group meetings, which feature seminars, theoretical and methodological discussions.

The Women and Girls Research Interest Group sits within the Communities and Social Inclusion group, which encompasses on a wide range of topics and perspectives, with a strong focus on participatory approaches within marginalised communities. This will ensure that you become part of a supportive interdisciplinary network and research community.

Background experience

  • Experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Competent in data collection and analysis
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Good time management
  • An interest in social justice, gender equality and social inclusion

If you would like to discuss this research project, please contact Dr Melanie Boyce: melanie.boyce@aru.ac.uk

Apply online by 19 March 2023

Funding notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. For 2022/3 this was £17,688 per year. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship terms and conditions. Please note that the University asserts the right to claim any intellectual property generated by research it funds.

Download the full terms and conditions.