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Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor for Street Sex Workers

Street sex workers are often reluctant to present at services due to fear of judgement, disclosure of personal information or/or repercussions from the criminal justice system and are more likely to approach dedicated sex-work projects.
Bristol City Council has funded a specialist IDSVA for street sex workers for the past 8 months. The IDSVA provides intensive support for these highly marginalised women who have experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. The IDSVA also supports women at the Respite Rooms, a 10-bed facility offering immediate safe spaces to women who have experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence and are experiencing, or at risk of, street homelessness. In order to support street sex workers in Bristol, it is important that specialist support continues.
The OPCC fund a number of ISVAs who deliver a support plan of practical and emotional support to those who have experienced sexual violence according to the nationally recognised ISVA model. We have decided to co-commission the Specialist IDSVA for Street Sex Workers from April 2025 due to the following benefits being identified:
•Allow the specialist IDSVA to work collaboratively within the OPCC ISVA model for both resilience and support.
•Align contract management across services.
•Allow Bristol City Council a greater stake in the ISVA operating model.
Bristol City Council and the OPCC are both committed to working with in partnership with specialist organisations to meet the diverse needs of victim/survivors particularly those who are hardest to reach.
Regarding value for money, this role has the potential to reduce the need for medical care/ admissions to hospital and can support people get back into work, which has positive economic implications. In the report ‘Saving lives, saving money: MARACs and high risk domestic abuse’ (CAADA, 2010), it was suggested that MARAC could save £6 for every £1 spent annually (Link)– with an IDSVA referring into MARAC, the role has the potential to be cost-effective.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 25/03/2024

Decision due: 14 Mar 2024 by Director: Communities & Public Health

Lead member: Councillor Ellie King Cllr.Ellie.King@bristol.gov.uk

Contact: Christina Gray, Service Director, Public Health Email: christina.gray@bristol.gov.uk.

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