In 2009, Kent Police began a scheme in Medway called Safe Exit, supposedly to help women leave the sex trade by offering treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, training and education, and housing. These services along with others such as trauma therapy are needed by many women seeking to leave prostitution. But what our investigation uncovered was that instead of receiving these services, the women received a criminal record, a major obstacle preventing people leaving the sex trade by hindering other employment chances and keeping them trapped in prostitution.
I think any steps that are taken that enhance the police response to attacks on vulnerable groups such as sex workers are important... The Merseyside model aims to build trust and confidence amongst sex workers to report when they are attacked, which allows the police to identify and arrest dangerous people who pose a threat to the whole of society.
Jackie Summerford is the mother of Bonnie Barratt who was murdered at 24 years old in the sex trade. If the Merseyside hate crime model was in operation in London, Bonnie's killer might have been reported to the police before and she would be alive today... Please add your signature to the Change.org petition calling for Rt Hon Mrs Theresa May MP to make the Merseyside hate crime model law UK wide: http://www.change.org/merseysidemodel.