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17/05/20 00:01

Support for women involved in prostitution

Additional funding for vital specialist services during COVID-19 outbreak.

More than £60,000 is being invested by the Scottish Government to provide additional support to women involved in prostitution during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The funding, will help nine organisations across Scotland increase their staffing and enable women involved in prostitution to access support and trauma counselling. The funding will be delivered through the Encompass Network of support agencies.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said:

“We understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures raises the risk of harm to victims of gender-based violence. Women involved in prostitution may be experiencing extreme hardship due to COVID-9 as well as facing additional challenges which need to be addressed to ensure they have access to resources and support. 

“No one should feel unsupported during this crisis.  Stigma and the hidden nature of prostitution creates a barrier to engagement with mainstream services. It is essential that specialist services, such as those within the Encompass Network, provide a bridge to national support and this funding will enable such services to reach out to women to help them access assistance and counselling.

“We continue to work closely with victim support organisations and justice partners to understand the impact COVID-19 is having on those most at risk, including where additional support may be required, in order to help keep all of Scotland’s communities safe.”

Linda Thompson, National Co-ordinator for the Women’s Support Project and Encompass Network, said:

“Women involved in selling or exchanging sex in all settings have faced some incredibly difficult times recently and we know how hard it has been for them to overcome barriers for financial help. The Encompass Network is pleased to receive this funding for the next three months. This will help offer more direct support to women who are facing difficulties,  work alongside them to link into local services and offer some financial help.  We need to make sure their needs are met now and in the future as well.”

Background:

 A total of £61,771 has been awarded under the Scottish Government’s Immediate Priorities Fund and will be distributed by the Encompass Network to nine organisations across Scotland who provide specialist support services to women engaged in prostitution. 

The Encompass Network is a network of Scottish agencies working with people who are currently involved in and/or planning to exit prostitution. The agencies have both national and regional cover.  Women who do not have a local service can engage with The Click Project which offers online support to women across Scotland or call them on 0300 1245564

Members of the Encompass Network include: Aberdeen Cyrenians, Quay Services, Routes Out, SACRO – Another Way, Streetwork, TARA, Vice Versa, Women’s Support Project and The Click Project