Justice-Involved, Sexually Victimized Women's Perspectives on the Acceptability of Receiving Trauma-Focused Therapy in Prison

Violence Against Women. 2023 Nov;29(14):2964-2985. doi: 10.1177/10778012231200480. Epub 2023 Sep 7.


Incarcerated women report high rates of sexual victimization. Interviews with 63 previously incarcerated women survivors of sexual violence explored perceptions toward receiving trauma-focused therapy while incarcerated and postrelease trauma-focused therapy utilization. Nearly all participants (97%) recommended that trauma-focused therapy be available to incarcerated women. Most believed that prisons are acceptable places to receive trauma-focused therapy, without qualification (65%); some reported mixed feelings or indicated acceptability but identified factors that would increase acceptability (33%). Notably, most were currently experiencing trauma-related symptoms, but few had attended trauma-focused therapy following release. Findings indicate that access to prison-based trauma-focused therapy is necessary and acceptable.

Keywords: acceptability; incarcerated women; sexual violence; trauma; treatment.