Women involved in street prostitution are likely to suffer physical deprivation – homelessness, lack of food, violence – physical and sexual assaults, illness and injury – drug and alcohol abuse, isolation/ostracisation/social exclusion. An increase in risk-taking behaviour increases their risk of harm; this risk particularly impacts on their mental and emotional health. Not forgetting that all the above is on top of whatever life experiences led to prostitution in first place!
SWWOP’s remit is to support this group of women to look after themselves and to enable them to make informed choices about their lives.
SWWOP’s primary service is making contact with women involved in street prostitution and being a friendly face to offer non-judgmental and confidential support and information.
By working alongside this vulnerable group, providing street based outreach and drop-in sessions, SWWOP aims to directly improve their health and safety, and that of the wider population via ‘the punter’. Ultimately, breaking down any barriers for the women accessing services (stereotyping, prejudice, lack of training and education opportunities, etc).
Our evening mobile outreach service distributes, free condoms, a satellite needle exchange, hot drinks and sandwiches, 'dodgy punter' infomation, appointments for crisis intervention, access to Exit Support and lots of TLC. We also liaise closely with the police to improve the safety of the women.
Our five-days-a-week service provides support r.e. benefits entitlement, housing issues, court appearances, drug treatment support and an individual worker to create a realistic exit support package.
All issues arising from outreach sessions are dealt with the next day or if homeless that evening with out of hours homeless service.A weekly drop-in inc. activities runs alongside an open advice session on Thursday afternoons. Women are also able to access sexual health screening, including provision of pregnancy testing at SWWOP, and we have a 'fast link' to Sexual Health Sheffield r.e. access to LARK (long-acting reversible contraceptives).
SWWOP works on an effective co-ordination of services to individual women, providing them with an individual worker, thus enabling one-to-one support. We also provide weekly food parcels and a 'clothes swap'.
At a local level we facilitate sensitive negotiations between communities and agencies about the local effects of street prostitution, providing a line of communication to and from the women themselves. Our wider work focuses on representing the views and needs of the women to various multi-agency bodies (e.g. Safer Children’s Board) as well as contributing to policy development on a national level.
At SWWOP we are grateful for any donation you can make – no matter how big or small. As you can see below, any amount you can offer can and will make a difference.