CLiCK is a Scotland-wide project supporting women who sell or exchange sex. We are a partnership of organisations working together with women’s needs and voices at the heart of the service. Our trained, trauma informed Women’s Workers across Scotland provide personalised support led by the women’s needs and priorities. As a pilot project, we have also developed Your Voice, a platform for women with lived experience to develop the service to meet their needs and have their voices heard at both a practical and strategic level. CLiCK also works with women to produce resources and information that are relevant and useful to women, with the Resource and Information Officer also working to support CLICK workers and other agencies.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have strived to adapt CLiCK support and resources to meet the evolving needs of women who sell or exchange sex. When we consulted with women, they identified money as the most pressing need. For many women, their income vanished overnight, leaving them unable to pay rent, bills and put food on the table. While we awaited additional funding options (feeding women’s needs and voices into this process), we created a resource around what financial support was available. Once additional funding was established, we supported women to access the Victim Support Fund and the Encompass Fund, both of which helped women with day-to-day practicalities, as well as things like rent arrears and safety measures for their homes.
“I have been so anxious, I had no idea how I was going to pay my gas and electric, I’ve been sat in the dark the last few days”
We learned how necessary and important this short-term funding specific to women involved in selling or exchanging sex was, helping to alleviate some stress and worry. However, we also discovered that more specific funding is needed to offer support on a longer-term basis.
“‘It’s a shame we can’t get access to a fund like this all the time if we need it”
To ensure that we were providing the best support we could, we worked to combat the social isolation some women who sell or exchange sex pre-covid experienced due to stigma and due to not wanting to disclose their involvement, and which has been worsened by the pandemic. This has included continuing to provide emotional and practical support via phone, text, WhatsApp, email and video calls, while also opening a new helpline and extending the availability of our online chat service. Our aims were to try and reach women in as many ways as possible, offering flexible options for engagement. We also created blogs with advice and information on local services during the pandemic as part of our rapid response to women’s needs.
With women’s voices paramount to our service, we created CLiCK Magazine. This is an online platform designed to amplify the voices, needs and experiences of women who sell or exchange sex during the pandemic, taking those voices to decision makers to ensure they are part of the recovery map for Scotland. This platform includes a podcast series, ‘CLiCK Cast’, a mental wellbeing, arts and self-care project, ‘Together Alone’, an anonymous survey platform, ‘RISE’, and creative one-to-one work with women via Your Voice.
We have tried to reflect the innovative, creative and responsive ways in which we have adapted our service to both identify and meet women’s needs as part of this poster. We continue to consult and listen to women as part of an ongoing dialogue to ensure CLiCK is an adaptive service, testing for change and with women’s voices and real needs at the core.
Anna Cook is the CLiCK Development Worker.