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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Examining Veterans’ Interactions with the UK Social Security System through a Trauma-Informed Lens

January, 2021
Article:

This paper uses the principles of trauma-informed care – safety, collaboration, choice, trustworthiness, and respect – to reflect on the quality of veterans’ treatment within the UK social security system.

Abstract

Drawing upon new data from qualitative longitudinal research with veterans in four geographical locations across England, UK, it explores their experiences within the social security system, highlighting specific issues relating to their interactions with the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) but also the conditionality inherent within the UK benefits system. Overall, it is evident that there is a lack of understanding of the impact of trauma on people’s psychosocial functioning and, as a result, veterans are treated in ways which are variously perceived as disrespectful, unfair or disempowering and in some cases exacerbate existing mental health problems. We propose that the application of trauma-informed care principles to the UK social security system could improve interactions within this system and avoid re-traumatising those experiencing on-going or unresolved trauma. The paradigm of trauma-informed care has been used internationally to examine health, homelessness, prison and childcare services, but ours is the first exploration of its application to the delivery of social security.

Full Reference

SCULLION, L., & CURCHIN, K. (2021). Examining Veterans’ Interactions with the UK Social Security System through a Trauma-Informed Lens. Journal of Social Policy, 1-18. doi:10.1017/S0047279420000719

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