Following publication of the Government’s strategy on prostitution, which included our proposal to amend the definition of a brothel, it is clear that further consultation is required to ensure this change meets our objective of improving the safety of those involved in off-street prostitution, without inadvertently causing difficulties either for those involved or their neighbours. We will make an announcement in due course.
The Home Office co-ordinates the implementation of the strategy through bilateral meetings at official level, overseen by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Sexual Offending. The following Government Departments are represented on the Ministerial Group:
Department for Education and Skills
Department of Health
Department for Constitutional Affairs
Department for Communities and Local Government
Attorney General’s Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Implementation of the strategy is well under way. At its heart is the need to tackle the issue at a local level and reduce the number of women tied to the streets by addressing the reasons for their involvement.
So far as the latter is concerned, the Government have invested £600 million in drug treatment provisions, with over 140,000 people successfully completing drug treatment programmes. We also plan to introduce a new penalty requiring women to engage with services to deal with the issues behind their involvement in prostitution, including drug addiction and homelessness. In addition to this, the Sexual Violence Action Plan, due to be published in the new year, has a number of specific measures aimed at addressing sexual violence against people involved in prostitution.
The strategy provides a framework for local areas to develop their own co-ordinated response to the problems associated with prostitution in their areas. We continue to work with local partnerships and individual agencies, including the police, to ensure that a prostitution strategy is developed in every area where there is a problem to be addressed.