Safety & Ugly Mugs

One of our key aims is to keep you safe

We can provide

  • Safety information and advice for sex workers in all sectors
  • Support through any crimes that are committed against you including support with reporting to the police, completing an ugly mugs or support through the court process
  • Free personal safety alarms and a safety card with top tips and emergency numbers to keep you safe
  • Fortnightly updates on Ugly Mugs alerts
  • Emotional support and do whatever we can to help you

If a client does or says anything to make you feel upset, worried or uneasy you can chat to us in confidence. It is never acceptable for you to be the victim of bullying, abuse, violence or assault, and it is never your fault.

Safety advice to make sure that you stay as safe as possible when working:

  • Always agree business and take money first
  • Have a plan ready in case something goes wrong
  • Be as familiar with the area as possible
  • Always carry a personal safety alarm
  • If you can, let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back
  • If possible, work with a friend using a buddy system
  • Try to avoid using drugs or alcohol when working, if you do then try to use an amount that keeps you aware and stable
  • Carry a fully charged phone with emergency numbers on speed dial
  • Always trust your instincts and be willing to say no
  • Always try to take in as much information about a client as possible
  • Do not carry a weapon as this can be used against you
  • Tie up long hair
  • Wear clothing that is easy to remove and makes you clearly visible at night
  • Wear shoes that you can take off or run in
  • Avoid wearing sharp jewellery that could get easily trapped in condoms

If you are attacked, there are a number of steps that you can take to help and protect yourself.

  • Use your mobile to call for help
  • If you have a safety alarm, use it as a distraction to give you time to escape
  • If someone attempts to attack you, make a lot of noise by screaming and shouting
  • If you have to fight back to escape, attack soft areas such as the throat, Adam’s apple, eyes and testicles
  • If they have their hands around your throat, smack both years with the flat of both hands
  • If you need to shout for help, shout “fire” or “police”
  • If you are in a car, hit the horn or flash the lights to attract attention
  • Walk away from danger, defend yourself only if necessary
  • If there are people around, address the person directly e.g. “you in the red coat”

Reporting to the police

If you are considering reporting an attack to the police, there are things you can do to help preserve the evidence. Try not to bathe, shower, brush your teeth or change your clothes. If you do want to change your clothes, do not wash the ones that you were wearing at the time of the attack. If the attack happened in your home, try not to move or change anything, as there might be vital evidence there. We can liaise with the police on your behalf if you wish us to help you with your report and we also provide lots of emotional support to help you through it.

Ugly Mugs

Basis Sex Work Project supports women in reporting violence, attacks, and incidents through our local Ugly Mugs scheme which is part of the national Ugly Mugs scheme. This scheme allows women to report anonymously if preferred. An ‘ugly mug’ is anyone whose behaviour you feel is unacceptable. It may be a client, a member of the public or another sex worker.

You should report anything that causes you concern, for example violence, threatening behaviour, abuse, disclosure of other incidents or intentions. By completing an Ugly Mugs report, you can increase the chances of the Ugly Mug being brought to justice and help keep all sex workers safe.

The information you provide can be shared with the Police, anonymously or with full details, and only with your permission. It will also be shared with sex work projects around the UK who circulate alerts so that other women can be made aware of any dangerous individuals.

Sign up to these alerts online and we also publish them in a fortnightly newsletter which we can give to you during drop in, street outreach or home visits.