Building on our successful reporting and alerting scheme set up in 2012, we signpost sex workers to local services following their submission of a report. We also provide enhanced support services, helping them to process what has happened, and support to report to police if they choose.
There has been a marked increase in demand for our services over the years due to positive reviews and word-of-mouth among sex workers and the reduction in generic and specialist supports in communities.
Over 50% of NUM reports come directly from individual sex workers. These diverse populations are primarily off-street workers, many of whom don’t have regular contact with local services, especially those that only focus on exiting or trafficking. For these private independent workers, when things go wrong they need non-judgemental confidential support from an organisation that understands their working contexts and need for discretion. Our casework team provides one-on-one support to approximately 40 sex working victims of crime each month.
Our digital casework is novel, and it took years to find funders willing to invest in our innovative approach to reaching off-street and online sex working populations. Our data, along with research from the findings for the Beyond the Gaze (BtG) project have been instrumental in helping us address the needs of our members.
Today, the casework team are responsive to the needs of individual sex workers and provide in-depth emotional and practical support either from ‘report right through to court’ or simply a listening ear. Caseworkers are experienced and qualified practitioners who provide support in keeping with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (2015). Our team endeavours to be available Monday through to Friday during office hours to deal with reports, ensure warnings are sent out in a timely fashion, answer calls and emails, and text to those who desire support following an incident.
To complement the casework support, the Research & Development Team will be engaged in a robust evaluation of these services and other NUM programmes to ensure that we continue to improve based on feedback from sex workers. Where possible, our services will be provided through a blending of expertise (lived, academic and professional) guaranteeing superior services to sex working victims of crime.
Our casework team has been made possible through generous investments from a variety of funders such as Comic Relief, The London Community Foundation and Viva Street. Our grantors not only recognise the value of our support work and our use of digital engagement, but also respect that sex workers are equal citizens, entitled to high quality, professional responses to their victimisation.
We thank our funders and the thousands of sex workers who have come to trust the NUM brand enough to contact us during deeply emotional times to share information about crimes against them.
Every sex worker who contacts us to provide information engages in a selfless act to warn others, ensuring that people in their communities have the information needed to avoid predators and save their lives.
We will continue to be here for you!