The North East Sex Work Forum (NESWF) is a multi-agency not-for-profit regional group that, through multi agency working, aims to engage and support people involved in or exploited through the sex industry across the North East (beneficiaries) and enable them to shape and contribute to service provision so that it responds to their needs.
NESWF has six core board members (Arch, A Way Out, Changing Lives , HMP Low Newton, University of Durham and University of York) who work with this hidden and marginalised community to design and deliver innovative outreach and support services and to conduct nationally recognised research programmes, and a wider network of partners including the police, local authorities, the probation service and other charities
The objectives of NESWF include enabling members and partners to share information and intelligence, to facilitate research (including Participatory Action Research with beneficiaries), to deliver training and workshops (including annual regional learning day) and to develop innovative tools for front line staff and to run campaigns.
NESWF has successfully developed an in-reach service at HMP Low Newton (support for women on offender pathway 9 – Prostitution – in custody and in community), peer led community support groups, innovative outreach strategies, professional training, new pathways for sexual violence survivors, and contributed to regional/national policy – all informed and shaped by the beneficiaries we support. Additionally, NESWF has hosted six learning days with c150 beneficiaries, front line professionals, academics and local politicians. Feedback includes ‘better awareness around trauma’; ‘improved understanding into how diverse a group, sex workers are’; ‘improved partnership working and networking’; ‘greater understanding into the lives of sex workers’
The funding provided by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will support the recruitment of a full-time worker for the 12-month period.