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New project to offer legal and advocacy support for women who sell or exchange sex affected by abuse or violence

The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) has announced today the launch of ‘RISE @ SWRC’, a short pilot project which offers judgement-free legal and advocacy support for women who sell or exchange sex in Scotland who have been impacted by any form of abuse or violence.

RISE @ SWRC —which stands for Rights, Information, Support and Engagement— will provide women with information about their rights as well as free and confidential legal and advocacy advice, and representation in civil justice processes.

The SWRC plans to consult directly with women with lived experience as well as with specialist organisations to identify specific legal and advocacy needs and barriers women may encounter when attempting to exercise their rights.

The project will hold monthly webinars on topics identified as relevant by women and organisations, offering an opportunity for women to get initial information about their rights.

In addition, free legal advice surgeries run by specialist solicitors will be available for women who wish to access tailored legal advice and advocacy support from the SWRC.

All of this is in addition to the Centre’s helplines and other services, which are open to any woman in Scotland affected by gender-based violence.

Katy Mathieson, Co-Ordinator at the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, said:

“Our Centre is well aware of the gap that exists between women’s experiences of abuse and violence and their ability to access justice.

“The situation is particularly stark for women who sell or exchange sex, who often face immeasurable stigma, vilification and discrimination when attempting to seek justice.

“We believe that every woman affected by abuse or violence should be able to access legal assistance.

“RISE @ SWRC is a judgement-free and confidential space where women selling or exchanging sex can get free information and support to understand and exercise their rights after an experience of abuse.”

Notes to Editors:

  • The Scottish Women's Rights Centre is a collaborative project between Rape Crisis Scotland, JustRight Scotland and the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, and offers legal and advocacy services for female survivors of gender-based violence in Scotland.
  • RISE @ SWRC is being funded by the Scottish Government for an initial 9-month period and is part of a package aimed at increasing specialist support for women involved in selling or exchanging sex. For more information about the funding, please see the Scottish Government’s announcement here.
  • More information about the RISE @ SWRC project, visit: www.scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk/rise

For media enquiries, contact:

communications@scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk

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