Not collateral damage: Trends in violence and hate crimes experienced by sex workers in the Republic of Ireland

Rosie Campbell, Lucy Smith, Becky Leacy, Miriam Ryan, Billie Stoica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Republic of Ireland’s new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 (2017 Act) criminalised sex purchase. Drawing on primary data from reports made by sex workers in Ireland to UglyMugs.ie, we analyse trends in violent and other crimes against sex workers in Republic of Ireland (hereafter Ireland). Examining the four-year period 2015–2019, we highlight the various crimes sex workers experience, including incidents of hate crime. Analysis of UglyMugs.ie data found that crimes (including violent offences) against sex workers increased following the introduction of the new law and continued with low levels of reporting of said crimes to the police. The data suggest that the 2017 Act heightens the risks for sex workers. Here, we advocate an intersectional framework to provide a more nuanced understanding of how sex workers in Ireland experience violent and other hate crimes (ICRSE, 2014). We suggest that considering the international research evidence, the most conducive framework in which to reduce violence against sex workers is that of full decriminalisation (Platt et al, 2018). But, as others have pointed out, that legal reform needs to be in tandem with other policies and a refocusing of police resources on sex worker safety, better enabling reporting and access to justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-313
Number of pages34
JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
Volume28
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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