Beyond The Margins

Expanding the Living in Community Model to build healthier and safer communities for sex workers and all community members

Support for sex workers across health authorities, police, municipalities and service providers is inconsistent. By developing a coherent regional and provincial approach, a stronger and more reliable system will respect sex workers safety, dignity, and well-being.

Overview

Grant: 
$150,000
Year: 
2016
Program: 
Health and Social Development, Grow Grant
Organization: 
Collingwood Neighbourhood House Society
Cause: 
Social Services
Partners: 

Living in Community, Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, City of Vancouver, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Hastings North Business Improvement Association, Health Initiative for Men, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, PACE Society, SWAN Vancouver Society, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver Police Department, WISH Drop-In Centre Society

Project Details

Sex workers in Canada experience significantly higher levels of violence, discrimination, and stigmatization than other women. Unfortunately, understanding of the complex social issues connected to sex work, and the support offered by different organizations, is not always consistent.

Living In Community is a community-based initiative that has been successfully working on this issue in neighbourhoods and municipalities, and is ready to support policy changes at regional and provincial levels.

Respect for sex workers is a core principal

Living in Community grew out of concerns with sex work at the neighbourhood level from a number of groups, including sex workers themselves.

now the project is expanding further, using Living In Community’s proven framework to develop coherent regional and provincial strategies

Involving current and former sex workers at every stage of policy development and decision making is essential, and provides a respectful way to draw on their insights and experiences to find ways to improve the health and safety of their peers.

Living In Community experts also connect with staff in different organizations to inform them about the impacts of stigma and discrimination, and the social and cultural barriers that sex workers face.

Developing a provincial strategy to reduce violence

Creating shared knowledge among police, municipalities, non-profits, and health authorities builds relationships between the organizations that play key roles in supporting the health and safety of sex workers across BC. But now the project is expanding further, using Living In Community’s proven framework to develop coherent regional and provincial strategies that aim to reduce violence against sex workers and create communities that are healthy and safe for everyone.

The next step is to build a provincial network to discuss which best policies and practices will help the most. This dialogue will lead to a 2017 provincial conference, where leaders will be chosen to coordinate regional approaches and implement new strategies within their organizations and local communities. 

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