Prostitution - challenging and deterring men's demand: strategic approach

Sets our our collective approach, working with stakeholders across the wider public and third sector, to challenge and deter men’s demand for prostitution and support those with experience of it.

Actions and timelines

The Strategy and its principles aim to guide an ongoing approach which will help us collectively identify opportunities for relevant services to further collaborate to improve support for women.

The Strategy’s delivery, working across Scottish Government, along with the wider public and third sector, will be supported by key activities outlined below.

Component 1 – Disrupting, deterring demand, and tackling its drivers.

Key Actions:

Establishing a new multi-agency group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) – which helps support the Strategy’s implementation and informs our wider policy approach to tackling all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. The group will inform the longer-term monitoring, review of this Strategy, and ensure a broader recognition of the interconnected policy areas and the need for consistency in language and approach.

Target Date: March 2024

Improved policy cohesion, with continued application of the Strategy’s policy principles – at the heart of the principles is the aim for them to be realised in policy and practice, and as part of their publication the Minister for Victims and Community Safety wrote to Ministerial colleagues to ask them to further consider how they can be embedded across their areas of work. They aim to guide further, longer-term policy cohesion, across government and the wider public and third sector on relevant policy and service design. This will help to tackle the drivers of exploitation, as part of our preventative approach, as well as improving support for those affected.

Target Date: Published December 2022 and now applied throughout Scottish Government and reflected in the refreshed Equally Safe strategy. Progress and application of the policy principles will be reviewed through the multi-agency group.

Component 2 – Improve access to support and tackling stigma.

Key Actions:

Mainstream services, including: employment, welfare, health, housing, education, and justice - having a wider awareness of CSE and the impacts on those involved, building on the existing CSE Aware training and resources that are available for those across the public and third sector. This will ensure staff are equipped with the relevant skills and awareness of available provision and understand their role in supporting those with experience of prostitution. An improved awareness of CSE across mainstream services will also form part of our preventative and early intervention approaches.

In addition, continuing to identify further opportunities to raise awareness across wider society- this forming part of our broader approach to tackling VAWG.

Target Date: Underway and ongoing

Component 3 – Recognising those involved in selling/exchanging sex are victims of exploitation.

Key Actions:

A victim-centred trauma informed Justice approach – a collaboration with Justice partners, including Police Scotland, to ensure that women involved in prostitution are recognised as victims and are offered support and advice. This will build on existing practice whereby guidance to current service providers is provided and expanded to interconnect with the establishment of a new national support pathway to ensure a holistic approach to enable women to exit from prostitution. This approach aiming to ensure that women feel safe in outlining their circumstances in the knowledge that services are equipped to provide non-judgemental, informed advice on potential next steps.

Target Date: Underway and ongoing

Component 4 – A new support pathway

Key Actions:

Establishing a new national support pathway aiming to ensure a clearer, better connected, and coordinated pathway of sustainable support for those with experience of prostitution, which will include support to exit prostitution.

Target Date: To pilot before summer 2024 with ongoing review and evaluation, with recommendations on next steps within 12 months.

Establishing a National Hub for Specialist CSE support services, overseen by a co-ordinator, which will help organisations share resources and good practice and help co-ordinate the new support pathway. This will bring together existing provision more closely and identify opportunities for further collaboration. The learning from the Hub will feed back into the new multi-agency group on CSE to help inform future policy development.

Target Date: April 2024



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