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Women and girls: women@thewell

24 May 2016

Last week, Changing Pathways told us about their new project supporting women who have been stalked after an abusive relationship. Today women@thewell, based in Camden, London gives us an insight into their work with helping women move on from street prostitution.

Caroline Hattersley, Head of Services, women@thewell tells us more.

Caroline Hattersley of women@thewell

Caroline Hattersley of women@thewell

women@thewell was founded in 2007 to support women involved in or at risk of becoming involved in prostitution, particularly street based prostitution, to find credible and sustainable pathways to exit prostitution and to build a life free from abuse and exploitation. We currently support around 250 women each year.

The funding from the Big Lottery Fund women and girls initiative will enable us to develop an outreach service to compliment and extend our existing services. Through this we will reach out to at least 300 women over the five years of the project, focusing on helping women come to us who don’t at the moment – either through fear, lack of awareness of where to find help, mistrust of statutory agencies or the police, or because they feel so trapped they lack a belief that there is another option.

The women we support will be involved as partners in developing our services in three ways.

  1. Working with the outreach team to share their knowledge of the streets, the hidden problems and some of the barriers to engagement that we may face ·
  2. Working with staff at the Centre to help us to identify and develop a safe space for new women to come and feel supported and part of a community ·
  3. Helping to inform our development of credible pathways and strategies for exiting prostitution, including supported employment

It will also allow us to support women like Maria, a Romanian women brought to the UK by an organised network of traffickers. She believed she was coming to the UK to work in a restaurant, but on arrival her passport and valuables were taken and she was placed in a house with other women. From here she was forced into street based prostitution.

When she came to us at women@thewell, she was very frightened and reluctant to talk about her situation. Her knowledge of English was very poor so our support worker made use of translation services to try and engage her and help her to tell us her story. We supported her to ensure that the individuals she had previously been in touch with would be unable to make contact with her. After a cup of tea and a chance to sit quietly with our support worker, she began to tell us her story. That night she was taken to a safe house in London from one of our partner agencies and the next day she was taken out of London to a safe place where she is in the process of recovering from her experiences and accessing a range of support to reclaim her life.

 

women@thewell website

More about our recent investment in women and girls projects

 

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