We often (rightly) emphasise the need for culturally inclusive and appropriate practices in our services. But have you thought about gender differences and the needs of young women accessing (or not) Youth AOD services?

In the past two years, two studies have been undertaken in the youth alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector (Daley, forthcoming; Kutin et al 2014). These have found significant differences in the needs and characteristics of young men and women accessing youth AOD services. At the broadest level, the prevalence and severity of all psychosocial problems measured in both studies were considerably greater for young women. The only exception was criminal justice involvement. From the time the youth AOD treatment system was established, the majority of clients had been involved in the criminal justice system. This meant that more males were referred to AOD treatment as they are heavily overrepresented in the criminal justice system. This perpetuated the gender imbalance in drug treatment services. Increasingly though, almost as many voluntary requests for AOD treatment come from young women and more women are beginning to be referred by the courts. 

To date, the needs of young women have not been specifically identified and catered for in a systematic way.

To date, the needs of young women have not been specifically identified and catered for in a systematic way within the youth AOD treatment system. Check out this full report by YSAS that explains the needs of young women and offers four key recommendations.

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