Sex workers in Nottingham needed for study to improve their safety

Thursday, 20 July 2023

Sex workers in Nottingham, and those who have previously worked in the sex industry, are being invited to take part in a study to improve their safety. 

Academics at the University of Nottingham are working with the charity POW Nottingham to develop a tool to improve sexual and serious violent crime reporting for sex workers in the city.

Dr Larissa Sandy, Assistant Professor in Criminology at the university, and Sam Richardson-Martin at POW, are designing a reporting tool, separate from the police, for sex workers to report when they’ve experienced sexual and/or violent crime.

They are looking for local sex workers to take part in workshops to help create the reporting tool. Workshops will be closed, with only sex workers and researchers attending. The small group workshops will explore best practice when serious and violent crime first disclosures are made, for example, what questions should be asked and what should not be said.

Participation is voluntary and will take roughly 2 hours – participants will receive £35 per hour for attending the session, with travel and lunch provided.

It is hoped the reporting tool will improve sex workers’ access to justice and it will anonymously feed in to key agencies to keep sex workers safe. However, if a sex worker decides they want to report to the police, then the tool can assist in the investigation and prevent re-traumatisation.

Dr Larissa Sandy, Assistant Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham, said: “We are looking for anyone with experience of sex work in Nottingham to take part in our research because we recognise that they are experts in their own lives and as having vital knowledge to contribute. With reporting of serious and violent crime so low in this community, this tool could be vital to improving reporting rates and in turn, improving the safety of sex workers.”

Sam Richardson-Martin, Specialist Women's Navigator at POW Nottingham, said: “We cannot promise that those taking part will personally experience the benefits from this study, but their participation will contribute to the development of a reporting tool for sex workers, with the hope of the tool being trialled across the UK, increasing sex workers' access to justice.”

Estimates suggest street-based sex workers are twelve times more likely to die from workplace violence than other women. Discriminatory relationships between sex workers and the police have resulted in inconsistent experiences accessing justice and very low reporting rates.

In the UK, sex work is legal but many surrounding activities like workers working together, advertising services and anything a worker needs to do to contact a client are illegal. This means that most workers don’t want to report violent crimes to the police because they fear being arrested or facing stigma and discrimination.

To take part in the research, contact Sam Richardson Martin at POW Nottingham at or on 07784687850.

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Larissa Sandy in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham at or; Faith Pring in the Press Office at the University of Nottingham at  

Faith Pring - Media Relations Manager
Phone: 0115 748 4411
Location: University of Nottingham, University Park

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798