An evaluation of a Home Office Innovation funding project on the police response to sex workers

Gavin Oxburgh, Robyn Lee, Olivia Le-Voguer

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportpeer-review

Abstract

Northumbria Police was awarded funding through the Police Innovation Fund (PIF) in 2016 to establish a new multi-agency safeguarding programme committed to the engagement, safeguarding and welfare of sex workers, including those who are sexually exploited, trafficked or groomed. The project aimed to establish the first multi-agency hub in the UK to engage with and safeguard sex workers. It also aimed to fund two development workers, who would act as an intermediary when engagement with the police is refused. The advent of the bid to the PIF resulted in the appointment of a force strategic lead. Other aims of the project included the encouraging of victims to report offences, developing workforce training packages, to support victims through the Criminal Justice System (CJS), providing education regarding the options of non-police reporting of sexual offences and the development of a greater understanding of the sex industry across the force area. This project works with various partners including Changing Lives, Arch North East, Bright Futures, Sexual Health in Newcastle (SHINE), and the Riverside Project. It has been developed out of a need to establish early interventions for those involved in sex work.

Overall the results of the research were very positive of the benefits of the SHADE project in terms of engaging and safeguarding sex workers with complex needs, including those involved in sexual exploitation, trafficking, substance abuse etc. Participants in all phases identified the ways in which the project actively safeguards the sex work community, emphasising the benefits of multi-agency working. However, numerous concerns were raised regarding improvements needed if the SHADE Project was to continue – these included communication between partner agencies, the lack of overall funding, as well as the need for a positive, permanent, driving force.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyNorthumbria Police
Number of pages69
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jun 2018

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