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Professor Heather Wardle will present findings from an NIHR-funded study which developed questions for use in adult social care with the aim of identifying and supporting those affected by gambling related harms.

Staff working in adult social care are being asked to support people affected by gambling harms in a range of services. Clients may be disordered gamblers themselves or may be affected by someone else’s gambling. Unless directly asked people will often not admit to being affected by gambling harms due to feelings of shame or stigma. But commonly reported gambling harms to individuals or affected others include financial hardship, debt, anxiety and depression, financial abuse, housing instability, or domestic abuse. This is a relatively new area for adult social care staff to consider in their practice and therefore may not be something they are confident talking about. Evidence suggests that asking about gambling harms can give people the opportunity to talk about their concerns and start the help-seeking process.

To assist staff with starting a conversation about gambling harms we have developed questions which can be used during screenings, assessments, or reviews. The questions were developed and tested for validity and reliability, following this, three local authorities used the questions in different service areas. Findings were that staff and clients found asking and being asked about gambling harms to be acceptable, however, different questions appeared to be preferred by different services depending on the type of client group or the type of service.

The findings of the study will be discussed, exploring some of the experiences of testing these questions in services such as Single Point of Access teams, Adult Safeguarding, Learning Disability services and Debt support. For those local authorities looking to address gambling harms, we will discuss recommendations for implementing initiatives in practice.


Booking for this online only event is open on Eventbrite. All welcome.

Follow Heather | Go to KCL study page for end-of-project outputs

This series

This is an event in the Gambling-related harms seminar series at the NIHR Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London. See all Unit Upcoming Events.

At this webinar

Unit researchers held a webinar today presenting the findings of a study – identifying gambling harms to individuals and affected others in adult social care. Professor Heather Wardle (University of Glasgow) discussed how researchers developed questions tailored for social care and piloted them in three local authorities in different service areas (single point of access teams, safeguarding, learning disabilities and debt and welfare support). One hundred and sixty-one people attend the webinar, including local authority staff, policymakers, people with lived experience (PwLE) and representatives from gambling support charities.

Caroline Norrie chaired the meeting, and post-presentation discussions involved how stigma around asking about gambling harm can be overcome, normalising asking about gambling as can be done in relation to drugs and alcohol, and whole-systems approaches in local authorities to tackle gambling harms.

Video recording of the webinar (YouTube, 56 mins)

Two questions have been developed for asking about gambling harms to individuals and affected others. For these, and for free staff training for social care staff (guidance, slides and a video) please visit the study website at King's or GamCare.

The study was undertaken together with GamCare, the UK’s largest gambling support charity, and with PwLE support from BetKnowMore charity.

Please get in touch with if you would like more information on this work.

At this event

Caroline Norrie

Senior Research Fellow

Cat Forward

Research Associate