Better help for sex workers

This Is Wiltshire: Sue Lee Sue Lee

SEX workers in Swindon will no longer be slapped with a fine and sent on their way due to new initiatives launched this month to support prostitutes in the Broadgreen area.

A dedicated sex outreach worker has now been employed through a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner Innovation Fund to focus on sex workers in the area, which has historically seen a problem around Manchester Road.

Police also have new options to deal with sex workers and kerb crawlers by referring them to support programmes rather than sending them to court, which has historically proved counter-productive.

Sue Lee, the new Swindon sex outreach worker, was a drug and alcohol worker for 14 years, having been first contact for many offenders coming through Gablecross or Dartmoor prison.

In her new role she will engage with sex workers in the area during the night-time hours in the safety of a van.

“My main focus is on pro-active outreach,” she said. “It is a way to offer intervention to the girls to be able to sit in the back of the van and chat to us.

“A lot of the work is around sexual health and getting them into a drug and alcohol unit. They are entrenched in their lifestyles, and there is a certain thinking and behaviour pattern that goes alongside that.

“The key to tackling that is assertive outreach out of hours in the van, building a trusting relationship with these women. If you do not have that it is not going to work. I could probably name most of the sex workers in Swindon.

“I need to get a good snapshot of what is going on, and work out what needs to be done tomorrow.

“The women are often quite suspicious and it can take quite a while to build up a rapport. They are very vulnerable and at risk of serious harm. Many of these women have endured significant trauma, and their lives are often chaotic.

“People can only make changes from places of safety and that is what we are trying to offer them.”

Since taking up the post on June 30, Sue has been on four outreach sessions, reaching around 40 girls.

“There is quite a concerted effort at the moment to tackle this in the Broadgreen community from the police and other agencies,” she said. “If someone goes to court they can get a £100 fine and be back on the streets the next day, but this is about looking at the attitudes and impact in the local community.”

Rose Mahon, Nelson Trust Women’s Services Manager, said there is now a new support network in place for the police and other agencies to tackle the problem.

“When we were successful with the funding what happened was a bit of a shift in policing policy,” she said. “The vice officer has now initiated a conditional caution, so the police will give two warnings to the women on the street. On the third occasion they get a conditional caution, which means they have to engage with ISIS and the outreach worker three times, and will attend our clinic on a Wednesday. It is about getting them plugged into the services to try to start them getting back into a more stable life.

“What we hope to achieve in a year is to demonstrate that this post is imperative as part of the support services for people in Swindon, so that we have a positive impact in the local community.”

Comments (12)

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7:19am Wed 23 Jul 14

house on the hill says...

what we really need is a look at the causes and how we can prevent them getting into that lifestyle rather than just treating the symptoms which is the easier option. The same goes for any criminal or anti social behaviour, we need to look at ways of preventing people from falling into that way of life, after all no one is born a criminal, it is how they have been brought up that makes them who they are.
what we really need is a look at the causes and how we can prevent them getting into that lifestyle rather than just treating the symptoms which is the easier option. The same goes for any criminal or anti social behaviour, we need to look at ways of preventing people from falling into that way of life, after all no one is born a criminal, it is how they have been brought up that makes them who they are. house on the hill
  • Score: -11

8:30am Wed 23 Jul 14

Chrisg46 says...

house on the hill wrote:
what we really need is a look at the causes and how we can prevent them getting into that lifestyle rather than just treating the symptoms which is the easier option. The same goes for any criminal or anti social behaviour, we need to look at ways of preventing people from falling into that way of life, after all no one is born a criminal, it is how they have been brought up that makes them who they are.
All very well, but no matter what, some people will inevitably fall through the cracks, either from abuse as a child or in relationships in adult life or a myriad of other reasons!
Personally, i view these workers (especially the ones on the street) as victims so am quite happy to see carrots used instead of sticks...
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: what we really need is a look at the causes and how we can prevent them getting into that lifestyle rather than just treating the symptoms which is the easier option. The same goes for any criminal or anti social behaviour, we need to look at ways of preventing people from falling into that way of life, after all no one is born a criminal, it is how they have been brought up that makes them who they are.[/p][/quote]All very well, but no matter what, some people will inevitably fall through the cracks, either from abuse as a child or in relationships in adult life or a myriad of other reasons! Personally, i view these workers (especially the ones on the street) as victims so am quite happy to see carrots used instead of sticks... Chrisg46
  • Score: -5

10:27am Wed 23 Jul 14

fuzzey says...

Wonderful news better help for sex workers ? Just what swindon needs .the women are often quite suspicious ?there's a surprise .
Wonderful news better help for sex workers ? Just what swindon needs .the women are often quite suspicious ?there's a surprise . fuzzey
  • Score: 21

11:04am Wed 23 Jul 14

trolley dolley says...

These women choose to do what they do as an easy way to pay for their Drug and Alcohol habit.

Lets be honest, they earn a lot more than they ever could by doing normal work.

I don't have any sympathy for them, they are taking easy options to fund a lazy life.

If they wanted to do something else, they would do it but whilst the money rolls in, why should they.
These women choose to do what they do as an easy way to pay for their Drug and Alcohol habit. Lets be honest, they earn a lot more than they ever could by doing normal work. I don't have any sympathy for them, they are taking easy options to fund a lazy life. If they wanted to do something else, they would do it but whilst the money rolls in, why should they. trolley dolley
  • Score: 5

12:30pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Sandor Clegane says...

This seems very similar to the approach out courts take to violent repeat criminals and burglars with 20+ convictions on their record:

Treat them with respect and dignity because they are the real victims in this. Let's be nice to them and help them because it's not their fault they continually commit crime and get away with it.
This seems very similar to the approach out courts take to violent repeat criminals and burglars with 20+ convictions on their record: Treat them with respect and dignity because they are the real victims in this. Let's be nice to them and help them because it's not their fault they continually commit crime and get away with it. Sandor Clegane
  • Score: 17

1:17pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

Does Emma know that you know all these women (and their life history)
😳
Does Emma know that you know all these women (and their life history) 😳 Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -9

4:33pm Wed 23 Jul 14

bowlerc67 says...

Good on you Sue......NO-ONE chooses to be a prostitute!!!!!! Circumstances and life lead these poor men & women into it!!!! 'There for the grace of God go I' Not everyone can sit in there ivory towers and make sexist or crass outdated statements!!!!
Good on you Sue......NO-ONE chooses to be a prostitute!!!!!! Circumstances and life lead these poor men & women into it!!!! 'There for the grace of God go I' Not everyone can sit in there ivory towers and make sexist or crass outdated statements!!!! bowlerc67
  • Score: -7

4:39pm Wed 23 Jul 14

bowlerc67 says...

My opinion is if there weren't the MEN using these people as objects.... half the time beating them and doing some seriously nasty things!!!! Then there would be no prostitution........
so why focus on them what about the MEN who use prostitutes eh???? I don't see them being treated like crap? ???
My opinion is if there weren't the MEN using these people as objects.... half the time beating them and doing some seriously nasty things!!!! Then there would be no prostitution........ so why focus on them what about the MEN who use prostitutes eh???? I don't see them being treated like crap? ??? bowlerc67
  • Score: -9

9:08pm Wed 23 Jul 14

LW1986 says...

I suggest those of you leaving negative comments offer to do a nights shift with Sue in the outreach van, to understand the reality of the lives of sex workers. The majority do not choose this lifestyle. They are forced into it, sold or trafficked. It us not an 'easy' way to get money, they don't just lie on their backs and think of the money, it is not enjoyable. And for those that do 'choose' it, have you considered what they must have been through in their lives to let themselves be used & abused?
Ignorance is powerful & dangerous.
I suggest those of you leaving negative comments offer to do a nights shift with Sue in the outreach van, to understand the reality of the lives of sex workers. The majority do not choose this lifestyle. They are forced into it, sold or trafficked. It us not an 'easy' way to get money, they don't just lie on their backs and think of the money, it is not enjoyable. And for those that do 'choose' it, have you considered what they must have been through in their lives to let themselves be used & abused? Ignorance is powerful & dangerous. LW1986
  • Score: 8

9:22pm Wed 23 Jul 14

MrAngry says...

I agree that these women need help. Most will be walking the streets to pay for a drug habit. Handing then a £100 fine is just going make them go straight back on the streets to raise the money to pay it.

There is a big difference between street sex workers and escorts though. There are plenty of escorts working in the sex industry, who choose the job and make big money from it. The term sex worker is not clear.
I agree that these women need help. Most will be walking the streets to pay for a drug habit. Handing then a £100 fine is just going make them go straight back on the streets to raise the money to pay it. There is a big difference between street sex workers and escorts though. There are plenty of escorts working in the sex industry, who choose the job and make big money from it. The term sex worker is not clear. MrAngry
  • Score: 3

1:18pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Chrisg46 says...

MrAngry wrote:
I agree that these women need help. Most will be walking the streets to pay for a drug habit. Handing then a £100 fine is just going make them go straight back on the streets to raise the money to pay it.

There is a big difference between street sex workers and escorts though. There are plenty of escorts working in the sex industry, who choose the job and make big money from it. The term sex worker is not clear.
Pretty much what i was intending to say. I have sympathy for the street walkers, less so for the escorts.
[quote][p][bold]MrAngry[/bold] wrote: I agree that these women need help. Most will be walking the streets to pay for a drug habit. Handing then a £100 fine is just going make them go straight back on the streets to raise the money to pay it. There is a big difference between street sex workers and escorts though. There are plenty of escorts working in the sex industry, who choose the job and make big money from it. The term sex worker is not clear.[/p][/quote]Pretty much what i was intending to say. I have sympathy for the street walkers, less so for the escorts. Chrisg46
  • Score: 1

1:49pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Badgersgetabadname says...

Sandor Clegane wrote:
This seems very similar to the approach out courts take to violent repeat criminals and burglars with 20+ convictions on their record:

Treat them with respect and dignity because they are the real victims in this. Let's be nice to them and help them because it's not their fault they continually commit crime and get away with it.
Scarily ignorant comment there ChanX.
I can appreciate from your privileged life you do not see these "people" or the facts that have driven them to this life.
I am sure your own extensive "life experience" has taught you all you need know about prostitution.

To Sue, this is excellent work and has been needed in the town for quite sometime. The more these issues are brought to light the less ignorance will surround them please stay safe.
A previous comment asked for people to go out with the van and help I am sure all councilors would be keen to see something that has plagued the town for years. A night out in the van then a follow up story in the Adver? Good for all concerned?
A public invite in the paper to all then a follow up story with those that participate? It would either run and run as a feature showing that the town representatives really do have an interest in what effects the people or there will be 2 or 3 showing that the majority just dont care.
[quote][p][bold]Sandor Clegane[/bold] wrote: This seems very similar to the approach out courts take to violent repeat criminals and burglars with 20+ convictions on their record: Treat them with respect and dignity because they are the real victims in this. Let's be nice to them and help them because it's not their fault they continually commit crime and get away with it.[/p][/quote]Scarily ignorant comment there ChanX. I can appreciate from your privileged life you do not see these "people" or the facts that have driven them to this life. I am sure your own extensive "life experience" has taught you all you need know about prostitution. To Sue, this is excellent work and has been needed in the town for quite sometime. The more these issues are brought to light the less ignorance will surround them please stay safe. A previous comment asked for people to go out with the van and help I am sure all councilors would be keen to see something that has plagued the town for years. A night out in the van then a follow up story in the Adver? Good for all concerned? A public invite in the paper to all then a follow up story with those that participate? It would either run and run as a feature showing that the town representatives really do have an interest in what effects the people or there will be 2 or 3 showing that the majority just dont care. Badgersgetabadname
  • Score: 0

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