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Advocacy support for women selling/ exchanging sex in Scotland

Illustration of a Black woman with her fist raised and text that says "Advocacy Support".

Abuse affects every aspect of a woman’s life. And we know that women can face huge barriers to get the justice and support they need and deserve in the aftermath of the abuse. Some of these barriers are a result of the stigma, discrimination and criminalisation that women have historically experienced.

This summer we launched RISE@SWRC, a service that assists women who sell/ exchange sex to use their rights and make their voices heard after an experience of abuse. Advocacy Support is a key part of this service.

Advocacy is available for women who have additional needs in their journey to seek justice and support. Whether this means approaching the justice system, arranging child contact, seeking medical attention, finding information about an immigration status, securing safe housing, or contacting other support services and government agencies.

Keep reading to find out how advocacy support works at RISE@SWRC and how this service can help.

Who can use RISE@SWRC?

Firstly, it is important to know whether this is the right service for you. RISE@SWRC is a legal and advocacy service that assists women who are or have been involved in selling or exchanging sex in Scotland. This can include, for example:

  • selling sex on street, indoors or online
  • phone sex or chatrooms
  • stripping, pole dancing, lap dancing, peep shows
  • pornography

And experiences abuse or violence, such as:

  • rape or other sexual crimes
  • domestic abuse
  • online abuse
  • stalking
  • sexual harassment
  • economic abuse
  • forced marriage
  • so-called 'honour' crimes
  • other forms of violence against women.

We can support you even if the violence or abuse happened a long time ago and whether it happened while selling/exchanging sex or not. We will always work with you as an individual and will respect your unique experience, views and circumstances.

RISE@SWRC is a free, confidential and non-judgemental service.

How can Advocacy Support help?

The RISE@SWRC Advocacy Worker is here to understand the different areas of your life that may have been affected by your experience of abuse. She can explain the support that you can get, and help you get in touch with government services and other organisations. These can include the courts, police, NHS, Citizens Advice Bureau, Home Office, women’s organisations, among others.

Our advocacy support service can help with questions such as:

  • The legal protections that you may be able to request to keep yourself and your children safe from abuse or violence
  • Your immigration status and how this may be impacted by your experience of abuse or violence
  • Your rights and legal options if you have experienced abuse or you don’t feel safe online. We know that women using webcamming and private galleries to sell sexual content online experience incidents of harassment and content piracy. We may be able to advice you on these issues
  • Reporting a crime to the police
  • Your housing rights
  • Child contact arrangements
  • What to do if someone is stalking or harassing you
  • How to make a complaint about an institution such as the police or your university.

If you are unsure whether our advocacy service can help, please get in touch with us to discuss your circumstances.

Getting legal and advocacy support

Our legal and advocacy teams work together to provide legal advice and other support. If you get in touch with our advocacy support service but you need legal advice or information, our advocacy worker can help by:

  • Scheduling an appointment with our RISE@SWRC solicitors and support you to attend this.
  • Contact you after your legal appointment to check how it went and ask if you need any other information or support from other services.
  • Send you written resources, such as our legal guides, with information that can help in your situation.
  • Explain how and where to get legal representation.

How confidential is RISE@SWRC?

We understand that you may be worried about disclosing that you are involved in selling or exchanging sex. We treat all information that you give us confidentially. This means that we won't share your details with other agencies, services or organisations, unless we have your permission.

The only exceptions to this would be if we thought that someone was in immediate danger, or if we are required to do so by law. However, these circumstances are very rare.

You also have the option to remain anonymous when contacting us. You can do this by telling us your first name only or a different name. Watch our video to find out more about confidentiality at RISE@SWRC.

Contacting RISE@SWRC advocacy support

There are different ways to contact our advocacy support service:

Language interpreter - English may not be your first language. If you need a language interpreter to communicate with our team, please let us know and we can offer you one for free.

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08088 010 789

Our helpline is currently available:

- Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm

- Thursdays between 1.30pm and 4.30pm

Important: from 10 January 2022 our helpline is temporarily moving to a new format. You can read more about these changes here.