Examining veterans’ interactions with the UK social security system through a trauma-informed lens

Scullion, LC ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5766-3241 and Curchin, K 2021, 'Examining veterans’ interactions with the UK social security system through a trauma-informed lens' , Journal of Social Policy .

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Access Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of Social Policy, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279420000719. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed.


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. 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.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Social Policy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0047-2794
Related URLs:
Funders: Forces in Mind Trust
Depositing User: L Scullion
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2020 16:02
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 13:00
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/58759

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