Changing Lives' Red Umbrella co-hosted a continuing professional development event with Merseyside Police to improve the quality of support for people who have been the victim of a crime when selling sex.

The Policing of Sex Workers event aimed to educate, raise awareness and tackle prejudice. Over 100 attendees came together from the police, partner agencies and the Changing Lives team to share best practice and learn from the lived experiences of people who had been supported by Red Umbrella.

Shelly Stoops, Rachel Fowler and Olivia Stephenson from Red Umbrella talked about their work supporting people with experience of sex work, survival sex and sexual exploitation on Merseyside. They were joined by guest speakers who shared their personal stories and experiences.

Service Manager Shelly Stoops said,

“It’s really important that Red Umbrella along with Merseyside Police continue to share best practice with our partners and officers. This is to aid the people we support to feel safer and more confident about reporting violence, harassment and other crimes committed against them. It was especially valuable to hear from people who shared their lived experiences and a reminder to all that there is a person behind the label of ‘sex worker’. Overall it was a fantastic day full of thought-provoking conversations and lots of learning for everyone. We would like to extend a huge thanks to the Merseyside PCC Jane Kennedy for funding this work.”

The Red Umbrella Project is commissioned by the Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner to deliver a service to any individual who has who has been a victim of crime when selling sex. With our dedicated, full time Police Liaison officer, we work in partnership to meet the needs of this group. Merseyside remains the first and only police force in the world to treat violence against sex workers as a Hate Crime.

By collaborating in projects like Red Umbrella, Changing Lives provides specialist support and services to people across the North and Midlands. Our services are informed by long-standing experience supporting people whose experiences of survival sex, sex work and sexual exploitation are diverse. Our approach comes from the voices of those who use our services, raising awareness through our unique peer research studies.

We have around 100 projects supporting vulnerable people in England. Browse our directory of services for more information and to find contact details.

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