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Research & Expertise

Research and evaluation is at the heart of Changing Lives’ practice. You can find several examples of our published research covering a range of topics related to homelessness, women, criminal justice, sexual exploitation and more below.

Please note reports dating back prior to November 2013 refer to Changing Lives by our former names The Cyrenians or Tyneside Cyrenians.

Our Research


This report looks at the impact of the first 4 months of Covid-19 lockdown on women accessing our services who have experience of selling sex and sexual exploitation. Data from related services across the country was analysed and  showed a 62% increase in the number of women disclosing that they had experienced sexual violence – although there are reasons to believe that the actual figure is much higher than this.

Download “Nowhere To Turn”


This report looks at the number of people turning to online sites to sell or exchange sex, during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can download the full report here: Netreach Report


This report delivers recommendations to develop and adapt service delivery for people in recovery and working towards employment – ultimately helping more people to move into employment. Peer research is a way of designing and delivering a research project with the people who would usually be the subjects. We used this model research model because we felt it would provide richer insights into the specific barriers faced by people in recovery from addiction when thinking about, and moving towards, employment.

Download Barriers to Employment for People with Drug and Alcohol Issues


This evaluation looks at three related interventions, delivered by Changing Lives, supporting victims of domestic abuse who have multiple and complex needs. The interventions are all funded for at least one year and take an intensive approach to meeting the needs of survivors.

Download “Too Complex for Complex Needs” here


This study sets out to understand the nature of sex work in County Durham and Darlington, and to examine interactions between sex workers and the services that they are likely to come into contact with. The study used the successful, peer-led methodology of Changing Lives’ Girls Are Proud (GAP) project, to uncover truths about the lived experiences of sex workers that operate in County Durham and Darlington. The research behind this report took place in 2015.

Please note, this report contains information of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.

Link: Peer Research Into Sex Work in Durham and Darlington (PDF)


The three workshops in this toolkit have been developed with two groups of professionals. The overall shape of each workshop has been led by an experienced teacher, together with input and advice from other experienced educators. Like most teachers, safeguarding is a regular aspect of our contributor, as his role as a teacher and makes up part of his experience. However, like most teachers, he does not claim to be an expert in safeguarding. This is where the second group of professionals comes in. Each safeguarding principle comes directly from safeguarding professionals from Changing Lives and NWG, as well as an ex-policewoman who is now a family liaison officer in a secondary school. Each of the three workshops explores a different safeguarding principle and are designed to be used in schools or other educational institutions.

  1. explores appropriate and inappropriate boundaries and is a discussion based workshop
  2. explores power looking at different techniques that a groomer might use as well as exploring how to defend against them. This workshop is a video based workshop
  3. explores spotting the signs that someone is in an abusive relationship. This workshop is worksheet based

Each workshop comes with an alternate suggestion to the tasks provided to incorporate drama into the learning.

Changing Lives CSE Hybrid Toolkit (Sept 2016)(PDF)


Changing Lives’ Assertive Outreach worker, John Cassap, went on a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to New Orleans and New York in 2016. The aim of his Fellowship was to investigate approaches to the homelessness population in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, and how methods adopted by American services could be replicated to benefit Changing Lives’ service users in Sunderland, where John is based.

Upon his return and as part of his Fellowship, John has collated his findings and recommendations for colleagues and peers and other interested organisations across the region and wider community. You can download it here:WCMT John Cassap 2016(PDF)



Zoe Lodrick, Psychotherapist and specialist in behaviour/ response to trauma – Presentation

Claire Hyde MBE, Director of Foundation for Families – Presentation


Changing Lives, in partnership with a range of specialist agencies and organisations, has led ground-breaking research on long-term homelessness in the UK. The research shows that the Housing First approach in tackling long-term homelessness in England, can potentially reduce the number of people who are homeless, whilst providing significant cost savings.

Link: Housing First Case Studies

Link: Housing First Executive Summary

Link: Housing First England Full Report


This study was undertaken by Soundingboard Research and Consultancy and was commissioned by Changing Lives to gain a better understanding of the use of Novel Psychoactive Substances (‘legal highs’) amongst individuals accessing a number of its services.

Link: Novel Psychoactive Substances / ‘Legal Highs’ (2014)


Changing Lives ACE (Adults facing Chronic Exclusion) Project Worker, Matthew Bower, went on a four-week Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to Australia in 2013. The aim of his Fellowship was to investigate alternative approaches to multiple complex needs in homelessness populations and other related areas.

Upon his return and as part of his Fellowship, Matthew has collated his findings and recommendations for colleagues and peers and other interested organisations across the region and wider community.

Matthew Bower WCMT Fellowship Report 2013 (PDF)

Matthew was recently presented with the Wintson Churchill Memorial Trust medallion for his fellowship report. He was also presented with the Viscount De L’Isle award which is given to ‘those who have shown real determination to succeed for the direct benefit of others’.


In 2012 Changing Lives won funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Next Steps Programme to support a feasibility study in to the appropriateness of a social impact bond (SIB) for the charity’s women’s offending work. The project produced a functional model against which to test ideas about how a SIB would operate in practice. It also provided a range of transferable lessons about the realities of social investment – where it can work, as well as where it can’t. These two short reports summarise that learning and our top tips.

Link: Big Lottery Fund Next Steps Programme – Social Investment Pilot


Male Action Project (MAP) operates as part of Changing Lives and works closely with the Girls Are Proud (GAP) project. MAP was equally funded by The Millfield House Foundation and The Northern Rock Foundation.

The project concentrates on the scope, extent and the individual profiles of those engaged in male sex work within Newcastle-upon-Tyne and those who travel within Tyne and Wear. This will in turn provide vital information necessary to present recommendations for policy change.

As a direct result of the work carried out as part of the MAP project, it is now clear that there has been a small scale red light district operating – the difference being that men are soliciting and not women. Kerb crawling also takes place next to the main cruising site in Newcastle, identified as a redlight district, and the same sort of behaviour probably takes place at other sites throughout the North East.

This Summary Report provides information from research and includes future recommendations based on findings.

Please note, the MAP report contains information and images of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.
MAP: Exploring the lives of Male Sex Workers in Tyne and Wear


Developed in partnership with Northumbria University, and funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, the PEER Report builds on the work of Hidden For Survival, Changing Lives 2008 exploration of the experience of sex workers in Tyne and Wear.

The aim of the research was to develop a robust evidence base regarding the lives and experiences of sex workers. Critically, it was peer-led enabling those women with experience of sex work to shape and deliver the research methods and subsequent interviews.

Exploring the different experiences of women involved in opportunistic or survival sex work, and those involved in escorting, alongside the view of stakeholders, PEER outlines a range of recommendations to support the development of policy and practice in this field.

Please note, this report contains information of an adult nature and is recommended for over 18’s only.

PEER: Exploring the Lives of Sex Workers in Tyne and Wear


The idea for the ‘Hidden for Survival’ peer research emanated from a group of interested professionals working predominantly within the drug field but with a range of backgrounds and experience. It was apparent that there was an increasing amount of anecdotal information being disclosed to professionals about sex work within the Tyne and Wear area. Simultaneously, a qualitative study carried out during 2005 by the Drug Interventions Programme within Government Office North East examined the experiences of women involved in off-street prostitution and drug misuse in the North East. Six in depth interviews were carried out and these identified that in Newcastle and Sunderland sex work was hidden and predominantly ‘off-street’, with the needs of the women largely unacknowledged.

Hidden for Survival -Sex Worker Report

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