Women living positive lives free from exploitation
To increase the safety, stability and self-belief of women in Coventry subjected to or at risk of exploitation, through emotional and practical support, advocacy and awareness raising.
Kairos WWT was set up in April 1999 to reach out to a group of women that were perceived to be marginalised and vulnerable; women that were caught up in street prostitution. It was recognised that there were many complex issues that bound the women to prostitution and that there was a clear need for a dedicated project that could build relationships with these women and broker the provision of mainstream services that all to often failed to reach the women.
In the formative days, Kairos WWT was run by a small team of volunteers and based on the work of Anawim, a Birmingham based project. Street Outreach was the first service offered and through this initiative the trust of the women was gained and relationships formed. Over the years, and in line with the women’s needs and wishes, the project developed, gaining Charity status in 2002 and opening an evening drop-in, a day session and undertaking key one to one support and advocacy work.
Kairos WWT now employs a team of 10 staff to undertake the work and is supported by a team of round 20 volunteers. On average, the project engages with 60 service-users each month. The organisation has made links with other agencies in the city to mutually support their work and now offers a wide range of services to engage with women at every step of their journey. In 2012, Kairos WWT expanded its mission by developing a prevention strand of our strategy, called ‘Feeling Safe’ and more recently we launched ‘A Home of Her Own’ to address the specific housing needs of women. We are part of Coventry Women’s Partnership, which has been established with 4 other organisations in Coventry to ensure women in the city feel supported in safe environments, empowered, and believed. We want to break down barriers for women in accessing crucial services and make engaging with support easier.
Finding routes out of prostitution can be a difficult and lengthy process. Research undertaken by the Home Office and reported in ‘A Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy and a Summary of Responses to Paying the Price’(2006), highlights the indispensable role that dedicated projects play in building relationships with women involved in prostitution, brokering the provision of mainstream services and improving access to drug treatment, accommodation and health care. Without the work undertaken by KairosWWT many of the needs of women subjected to exploitation within the city would go unmet.