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Current Practice Examples

Practice Name: Red Umbrella

Force: Merseyside

What is the issue?

The Red Umbrella Project recognises that the sex worker community is often targeted because of who they are and their work. The project aims to ensure a better crime recording process, a more professional approach throughout the criminal justice system for those who report crimes against them and to better populate the intelligence system around vulnerable people and dangerous offenders.

It was designed initially after a series of murders in Suffolk in 2006 which led to the police service recognising that the sex worker community would not speak to Police, our intelligence systems weren’t up to date and the sharing of information to safeguard was poor and inadequate.

What is the activity?

The project consists of a dedicated Detective Constable and staff within Changing Lives, the commissioned service to support those in sex work across Merseyside.

Changing Lives staff provide guidance, support, and intervention to those who work in the sex work industry to empower. They also provide an outreach service, drop-in surgeries and this work is in conjunction with Health, housing, drugs services, social services, and addiction services.

Since 2006 Merseyside Police treats crimes against those who work in the sex work industry as Hate Crime.

How is it working?

Since the collaborative project began in 2017, there have been more than 260 crimes reported. An external evaluation by Liverpool John Moores University has been .

Practice Name: Hospital-based Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs)

Force: Lancashire

What is the issue?

Research suggests that victims of abuse either physical or sexual, are more likely to engage with a health professional or an ISVA upon initial contact within Accident & Emergency departments.  A gap was highlighted in terms of support for victims when they were in a time of real crisis. Left without this avenue for support, disclosures may not be made, leaving the potential for victims and or repeat victimisation.

What is the activity?

Funded initially by the PCC’s office, this project is now mainstream funded by NHS England.

ISVA’s have been placed within the Safeguarding Teams in each of the major hospital setting across Lancashire. They provide an initial point of contact for patient referral, if they should inform staff that they have be subjected to sexual assault or rape, either as a direct reason for their admittance to hospital or as a disclosure to staff. Once they have built up relationships, while placed in this setting. The ISVA’s will then complete initial risk assessment and co-ordinate further dedicated ISVA support, via the Lancashire Victims Services. 

As well as providing immediate to support to victims, the Hospital based ISVA is responsible for; raising the role of the ISVA within the Health environment; assisting with training of health staff to understand the value their role could provide; monitoring referrals coming through the hospital-based ISVA; and identifying repeat victims and through their on-going knowledge support Health colleagues

How is it working?

The programme was awarded with the ‘Nursing Times Award in 2020’ as an initiative post to support victims as crisis point and has been subject to external evaluation by Lime Culture.


Practice Name: Stalking Clinics

Force: Metropolitan Police, Northumbria, Nottinghamshire and Sussex

What is the issue?

In 2016/17, Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and His Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate conducted a joint inspection of how the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) tackle crimes of harassment and stalking. ‘‘Living in fear – the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking’ concluded that ‘there is still much work to do at every level in order to improve the experiences of harassment and stalking victims, and to ensure that all victims are given a consistent high-quality service in the criminal justice system.’

What is the activity?

Stalking Clinics adopt a strategic approach to case management that focuses on future management of perpetrators. The victim and others at risk are also discussed with relevant safeguarding actions being allocated.

Force Stalking Clinics review stalking cases so that expert advice and guidance can be given to officers by identifying the risks that perpetrators pose to the victim(s) using expert opinions, and to use a multi-agency approach to provide a range of interventions to prevent further offending and to protect the victims they target.

Clinics seek to form individual Risk Assessment and Management plans, whilst keeping the victim at the heart of the process.

How is it working?

Forces collate monthly analysis looking at sanctioned detections, crime data integrity and volume of breaches of restraining orders. The number of interventions and multi-agency consultations are also recorded by NHS and National Probation Service. Some forces also gather survivor satisfaction data and monitor the use of civil orders.