We’re in this together

We’re in this together

Police and the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) have joined forces to help sex workers understand what support is available if they’re sexually assaulted.

Wellington District Police and the NZPC yesterday launched a booklet – What To Do: a guide for sex workers who have experienced sexual assault – which outlines sex workers’ rights, what they should do after an assault and what support they can expect.

It includes contact details for support contacts throughout the country.

“We know that sexual assault is not an occupational hazard and we are keen to reassure sex workers that there is a pathway forward in the event of sexual assault,” says NZPC founder Dame Catherine Healy.

“New Zealand Police have worked with us to develop and co brand this resource - this means a lot to us.”

Dame Catherine says it is understood to be the first time a police service and a sex workers’ organisation have produced a jointly branded publication.


The collaboration came about after the Hutt Valley Adult Sexual Assault Team identified a need to work more closely with the NZPC, so approached Dame Catherine and her team.

Along with the Wellington District Adult Sexual Assault Team, they developed a working group which has met regularly over the past year to develop the booklet.

It will be accessible to sex workers nationwide through Police and the NZPC – and an online PDF can be found by clicking here or the link below.

Police and NZPC partnered with Dr Jennifer Heywood, who specialises in sexual health, and the support organisations Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington HELP, Hutt Valley Sexual Abuse Support and Healing and MOSAIC, which works with male sexual assault survivors.

“NZPC makes it clear to those they work with that Police are here to keep communities safe - and sex workers are part of these communities,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Haley Ryan.

“It’s been really positive to work together more with NZPC to better support people who may feel or previously felt marginalised.

“I sincerely hope our collaboration shows sex workers that we are approachable and we will not treat you differently because of your occupation.”

Speaking at the booklet’s launch yesterday (Monday 17 December), Dame Catherine said a number of factors could stop sex workers reporting sexual assault.

“They may be thinking ‘Will I be judged? Will I be told off?’” she said. “These things have often gotten in the way for sex workers thinking about reporting sexual violence.”

She said she hoped the 41-page booklet would break down some of these barriers.

It contains information such as: the definition of sexual assault; the right to safety at work; what to do if you or a friend are sexually assaulted; and the options available, including how reporting to Police works.

The booklet also provides contact details for all sexual assault support services throughout New Zealand, as well as a number of frequently asked questions and answers.



Booklet ACs
Dame Catherine Healy with Wellington District Commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle and Assistant Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger - and a couple of the NZPC's trademark red brollies.