Full Report

Executive Summary

 This study emerges within the context of:

  • Marginalised and vulnerable females in the North East being found 1.7 times as likely to die early than in England and Wales as a whole; and the average age at death falling by ten years, from 47 to 37.
  • Mortality rates from drug poisoning decreasing for males and increasing for females in 2022; and drug related deaths in the North East being consistently the highest of any English region for ten consecutive years.  
  • The North East, having the highest number of children in the care system, 113 per 10K; 1.6 times the national average.

The study shines a light on the plight of birthmothers severed from their children by addiction as a result of: VAWG,  early trauma, exclusion from their families and communities, being marginalised and stigmatised by state services; and further harmed from involvement with legal institutions that are known to blame and punish women for the abuse they have been subjected to. The intention of the Tina’s Haven project is to develop a transferable model of holistic and emancipatory praxis, that will bring about self-empowerment and solidarity among birthmothers severed from their children by trauma-based addiction.

“The success of Tina’s Haven is a result of it being located in a clear analysis of structural inequality and the simultaneous actions necessary to begin to address this, which requires a women-only multi layered, holistic design.

I hope this wonderful, joyous, and liberating model of work will give food for thought to all those who wish to see women’s rights achieved. This is how our wider women’s sector should be operating.“

Vivienne Hayes MBE, Chief Executive,  Women’s Resource Centre

The report draws upon practice-based learning from the rich and dense evaluative findings of the pioneering and seminal Tina’s Haven pilot project. It makes a significant contribution towards creating a transferable model of praxis; and is testimony of the journey so far. The following quotes are from birthmothers who participated in the pilot project.

“Realising that we matter. I deserve to be loved. I have a voice. I am important. I wouldn’t have known how to communicate this without Tina’s Haven.”


“I was broken when I came here. I loved the photography, getting out in nature, appreciating the small things in life. Tina’s Haven has made me enjoy life more, I used to think I would not like things being ‘normal.”


“I haven’t once thought about picking up and using. Instead, I spoke to my friends and family, went for a walk, had a good long cry. Done anything but use. I am so proud of myself as I could have quite easily. Once upon a time I wouldn't even have thought about it, I would have just done it.  The difference now is that I don't want to. I have a beautiful life, a beautiful family, and a beautiful small circle of amazing friends. Something I have never had, thanks to Tina’s Haven.”


“We will find identification with each other; we are all connected by our sex, and we have all got emotional baggage. We are all at Tina’s Haven for a reason. We are all meant to be here because we can all bond together, to share our strength, our experiences, and our hopes”.

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