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Sex workers in Nottingham needed for study to improve their safety

 In News

Sex workers in Nottingham, and those who have previously worked in the sex industry, are being invited to take part in a study to improve their safety.


Academics at the University of Nottingham are working with the charity POW Nottingham to develop a tool to improve sexual and serious violent crime reporting for sex workers in the city.


Dr Larissa Sandy, Assistant Professor in Criminology at the university, and Sam Richardson-Martin at POW, are designing a reporting tool, separate from the police, for sex workers to report when they’ve experienced sexual and/or violent crime.


They are looking for local sex workers to take part in workshops to help create the reporting tool. Workshops will be closed, with only sex workers and researchers attending. The small group workshops will explore best practice when serious and violent crime first disclosures are made, for example, what questions should be asked and what should not be said.


Participation is voluntary and will take roughly 2 hours – participants will receive £35 per hour for attending the session, with travel and lunch provided.


It is hoped the reporting tool will improve sex workers’ access to justice and it will anonymously feed in to key agencies to keep sex workers safe. However, if a sex worker decides they want to report to the police, then the tool can assist in the investigation and prevent re-traumatisation.


Dr Larissa Sandy, Assistant Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham, said: “We are looking for anyone with experience of sex work in Nottingham to take part in our research because we recognise that they are experts in their own lives and as having vital knowledge to contribute. With reporting of serious and violent crime so low in this community, this tool could be vital to improving reporting rates and in turn, improving the safety of sex workers.”


Sam Richardson-Martin, Specialist Women’s Navigator at POW Nottingham, said: “We cannot promise that those taking part will personally experience the benefits from this study, but their participation will contribute to the development of a reporting tool for sex workers, with the hope of the tool being trialled across the UK, increasing sex workers’ access to justice.”


Estimates suggest street-based sex workers are twelve times more likely to die from workplace violence than other women 1. Discriminatory relationships between sex workers and the police have resulted in inconsistent experiences accessing justice and very low reporting rates.


In the UK, sex work is legal but many surrounding activities like workers working together, advertising services and anything a worker needs to do to contact a client are illegal 2. This means that most workers don’t want to report violent crimes to the police because they fear being arrested or facing stigma and discrimination.


To take part in the research, contact Sam Richardson Martin at POW Nottingham at sam@pow-advice.co.uk or on 07784687850.


More information is available from Dr Larissa Sandy in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham at  Larissa.Sandy@nottingham.ac.uk or; Faith Pring in the Press Office at the University of Nottingham at faith.pring@nottingham.ac.uk


  1. Sanders & Campbell, 2007
  2. English Collective of Prostitutes, 2019 (https://prostitutescollective.net/know-your-rights/)

Text copied and pasted from a press release by the University of Nottingham

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