Listening to mothers

Gail Freedman posterA surprise visit by Gail Freedman was one of the highlights of the Kairos women’s services review lunch last month. Gail was part of Kairos in the early days and she later returned home to Wolverhampton, where she gained her BSc in counselling psychology. She is now embarking on a PhD at the University of Wolverhampton, researching the lived experience of mothers who have had contact with both child protection and alcohol services, in order to understand more about their treatment and support needs.

“I want to interview women in the process and ask what support they received, what was helpful and what was not. I’m concentrating on alcohol, partly because it is a readily-available, legal substance and that sets it apart from other sorts of drugs. I know there are fathers, too, but more often the parent involved with the social services is the mother. This research will, I hope, give voice to the experience of the mother. There’s very little genuine voice out there – women are often being written off as aggressive and unfit without being offered appropriate therapy.”

Gail will be asking participants five questions about their experiences when involved with both social services and addiction services; all answers will be anonymised.

  • If you are a woman who has had contact with social services/child protection (ending more than 12 months ago) and would like to take part in Gail’s survey or find out more about her research, please email her at