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Prostitution in (and out of) policy on violence against women and girls in the UK

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The extent to which prostitution is addressed in Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) policy in the UK varies by nation, region and local area. Current Westminster government policy frames prostitution in terms of associated harm and exploitation, not as harm and exploitation, in sharp contrast to Scotland and some local areas. This short article extends Liz Kelly's (1988) continuum of violence against women to prostitution, drawing on definitions of VAWG, research evidence on harms and conceptual links between men's abusive practices. For policy, this means a re-orientation towards specialist support for women, including to leave prostitution, and seeking to end demand. There are also opportunities for Westminster government policy to create consistency in VAWG prevention work and sexual exploitation of children through a more coherent analysis of gendered violations and violences. While the focus is on UK policy, the case for including prostitution in strategic approaches to VAWG will have wider resonance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: May, 2017

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  • The Journal of Gender-Based Violence (JGBV), is the first international journal based in Europe to show case the work of scholars across disciplinary and topic boundaries, and from a range of methodologies.

    The journal acknowledges both the breadth of gender-based violence (GBV) and its links to gendered inequalities. It aims to continue to document the voices and experiences of victims and survivors of GBV, to publish work regarding those who perpetrate GBV and of the varied and complex social structures, inequalities and gender norms through which GBV is produced and sustained. The journal recognises the intersection of gender with other identities and power relations, such as ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, faith, disability and economic status.

    JGBV will publish high quality papers that contribute to understanding of GBV, policy, and/or activism, on sexual violence, domestic abuse, ‘honour’-based violence, prostitution, trafficking and/or reproductive violence and abuse in a wide range of intimate, familial, community and societal contexts.

    The editors invite interest from scholars working across the social sciences and related fields including social policy, sociology, politics, criminology, law, social psychology, development and economics, as well as disciplines allied to medicine, health and wellbeing.

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