GamCare report reveals barriers preventing female problem gamblers from seeking help

A report released by UK gambling charity GamCare has revealed that various barriers are stopping female problem gamblers from seeking treatment.

Most notably, the idea of gambling-related harm being a ‘male issue’ has stopped women from reaching out when they needed to.

The report was carried out by GamCare’s ‘Women’s Programme’ to raise awareness and educate those who may be struggling.

“Dangerous” assumptions

The GamCare report found that women felt “high levels of shame and stigma”. This was due to society viewing gambling as an activity for men, and one “in which women should not take part, or do not take part”.

Alongside these concerns, some participants also assumed that gambling could not be harmful to either their families or themselves if they were not in charge of their households’ finances. GamCare called these assumptions “dangerous”.

To tackle perceptions and stigmas, respondents said that society needs to address various stereotypes and expectations. These include women being “good mothers”, as well as homemakers.

Through its research, GamCare also discovered that a lot of female gamblers reported financial losses totalling tens of thousands of pounds. A lot of respondents also pointed to this activity negatively impacting their mental health.

“The issues that women are facing are often hidden from support services” 

GamCare Chief Executive Anna Hemmings had the following to say about the report’s findings.

“The issues that women are facing are often hidden from support services. Our Women’s Programme has told us that we need to remove barriers for women to access help with gambling-related harm, but we also need to ensure that those providing that support are better equipped to help them.

“We must get to grips with the unnecessary shame and stigma women feel around asking for help. Gambling is not just a male activity, and it can affect women in significant, potentially life-changing ways.

“We have already achieved a lot in the first year of this programme, and I’m looking forward to the second year of the programme where we will be spreading the learning to improve support for women.”

Continuing to build support and awareness

According to GamCare, at least 30% of annual National Gambling Helpline callers are female.

The charity has reiterated its intentions to make getting support for women easier through referral methods. Moreover, the charity will gain more evidence on the kinds of treatment that work through continuing to gain real-life insights from women throughout the UK.

GamCare has already implemented numerous areas within its Women’s Programme, including the launch of an online chat room in September.

The charity has also been working on breaking down barriers to BAME communities in the country from seeking help when needed, as well as preventing gambling-related harm in the workplace.