Third Sector Awards 2014: Small Charity, Big Achiever - Winner: UK Network of Sex Work Projects

Awarded to a small organisation that has made a big impact with an innovative project or projects. Only charities with annual incomes of up to £1m are eligible for this award

Ugly Mugs: scheme now used by 44 police forces in the UK
Ugly Mugs: scheme now used by 44 police forces in the UK

What did it do?

The UK Network of Sex Work Projects runs the National Ugly Mugs scheme to prevent crimes against sex workers. The scheme encourages sex workers to share vital information about perpetrators with other sex industry workers and the police.

How did it do this?

Criminals who target sex workers are known as ugly mugs. They can view sex workers as targets, thinking they will not report crimes, and will often escalate their violence. Under the National Ugly Mugs scheme, members receive alerts about individuals targeting sex workers, and sex workers can report serious incidents through its website. The service costs about £125,000 a year to run, and most of this sum is funded by police forces, but the charity estimates that its crime prevention work brings considerable savings, given that it costs about £100,000 to investigate a single rape case.

Why did it win?

In two years, more than 2,000 sex workers and more than 300 organisations have signed up to  the scheme. It is widely used by 44 police forces across the country and is estimated to have helped to secure at least 16 criminal convictions of dangerous serial offenders.

What did the judges say?

Stephen Harvey, director of fundraising and communications at Riders for Health, said: "I was impressed with how the charity and the police had worked to create a scheme that has changed policy and saved lives."

Highly commended

Partnership for Children
Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability

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