11 January 2016
Though there are lots of organisations and individuals working hard across the country to improve the lives of sex workers, unfortunately, women working in the industry are still much more likely to be the victim of a violent attack or sexual assault. Whether they’re working on the street, from a private home or online, sex workers encounter serious danger on an unacceptably regular basis.
In many cases, sex workers don’t trust the police and so don’t report the attacks they suffer. However, reporting abuse, sharing information and keeping the authorities and other sex workers informed is one of the most powerful tools women have in the fight against violent assaults. Sharing information isn’t just useful, it could save lives and prevent more women being hurt and abused in the future.
A high proportion of sex workers who experience abuse either think that the police won’t believe them, or that their attacker will be let off in the long run anyway. A recent case in Manchester disproved both of these fears. Jason McHugh, 43, was convicted of violently assaulting a female sex worker and sentenced to eight years in prison.
His victim, a woman in her 40s, was incredibly brave reporting the horrific assault, identifying her attacker and testifying at his trial. Thanks to her courage, one more violent attacker has been taken off of the streets and women working in Manchester are that little bit safer.
How to report an assault
There are lots of ways to report an assault or warn other sex workers about violent, strange or scary punters. If they don’t want to go to the police, women can use the Ugly Mugs app or Dodgy Punters scheme to report abuse. This information will automatically been shared with other women working in the area, helping to keep all sex workers informed, empowered and, most importantly, safe.
By using one of these schemes to warn other sex workers about dangerous men in the area, women can help to prevent violent assaults and even save lives. Information can be shared with both schemes anonymously, so even if a sex worker doesn’t want to go to the police themselves, they can still help to keep other women safe from harm.
If you’d like to learn more about the help and support that’s available to sex workers in Norfolk, get in touch with Doorway Women’s Services today on 0808 800 1030.