A Managed Approach to On-Street Sex Working: Messages for Social Work Practice

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Presently, there is limited research examining sex work and social work in the UK; however, the needs of sex workers often intersect with various areas of practice. This article sets out to enhance social work practice by drawing upon empirical findings from an Independent Review of the Managed Approach to On-Street Sex Working (2020) commissioned by the Safer Leeds Partnership. The Review evaluated the implementation of an approach to on-street sex work introduced in 2014, which established the parameters of on-street sex working in the city, including geographical boundaries and hours. Furthermore, it implemented a multi-agency response to managing problems or needs associated with its presence in the community. The Review of the Managed Approach employed a mixed-method approach that included sex workers, residents, businesses and professionals. However, this article will focus on thematically analysed qualitative data from semi-structured interviews conducted with sex workers and specialist agencies and focus groups with professionals working across a range of related fields. It will explore examples of good practice relevant to social work, whilst highlighting broader structural impediments that increase marginalisation for sex workers. In order to do so, it will draw upon the work of Butler (2006, 2009, 2020) to examine the data.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcae029
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Early online date5 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2024

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