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03/03/20 10:29

Supporting women involved in prostitution

New fund to address harms and challenge demand.

Frontline projects that support women could benefit from a new fund focused on addressing prostitution as a form of gender-based violence.

Initiatives aimed at challenging men’s demand for prostitution will also be eligible to apply to the £100,000 fund. Community Safety Minister Ash Denham announced plans for the fund in a speech to the Purchasing Power – Men Who Buy Sex conference in Glasgow.

The event, organised by Glasgow City Council, NHS Health Scotland and the Women’s Support Project, looked at the links between commercial sexual exploitation and other forms of violence against women – and efforts to tackle this nationally and internationally.

Ms Denham said:

“The harsh reality for women engaged in prostitution is that they are at risk of violence and victimisation and their sexual health may be compromised.

“While recorded crimes for prostitution have substantially decreased in the last ten years, the circumstances that may lead to involvement in prostitution remain. In 2020, much of the related harm occurs behind closed doors and is hidden from public view.

“The fund I have announced today will support new and innovative work aimed at addressing those issues through frontline services, as well as initiatives to challenge demand for prostitution.”

Background

The 'Addressing Prostitution as a Form of Gender-based Violence' fund will open for bids in spring. Details of the fund will be published by Impact Funding Partners and further information will be available through the Violence against Women and Girls Partnerships and Equally Safe channels.

Equally Safe, Scotland’s strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, adopts the position that prostitution is a form of gendered violence. National outcome priority 4 commits to action so that ‘men desist from all forms of violence against women and girls, and perpetrators of such violence receive a robust and effective response’. 

Across the last ten years in Scotland, 99.8% of convictions for kerb crawling or loitering in order to buy sex were made against men.

The Scottish Government has committed to bring forward a national consultation to gather views on how best to challenge men’s demand for prostitution in Scotland.  Views will also be sought around reducing the harms associated with prostitution and supporting women involved to exit. The consultation will be published later this year.

In February, the Scottish Government launched the Delivering Equally Safe Fund to support frontline services to protect women and girls from gender-based violence.