Vice rise in Doncaster due to welfare cuts

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Benefit reforms are being blamed for an increasing number of women turning to prostitution in Doncaster.

Women have traditionally turned to a life of vice to fund drug habits - but now Doncaster Council says more women are selling their bodies for sex on the streets because welfare reforms and increased living costs means that they are finding they are unable to make ends meet.

The council is now launching a 12-month pilot scheme which will offer support to try and get women off the streets rather than concentrating on enforcement action.

The project will replace a similar scheme, called Streetreach, which was axed last year because of funding cuts.

Coun Pat Knight, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “Street prostitution greatly affects the quality of life for residents in the areas where it takes place and enforcement action will be used appropriately, but we also need to understand why people get in to prostitution and provide support to them.”

She said street workers would be given ‘tools and techniques’ to exit the lifestyle and drop-in centres would continue to give support.

The pilot is due to be launched in December.

Over the last few months police have repeatedly carried out high visibility patrols around the Thorne Road area and residents have been encouraged to report kerb crawlers.

Coun Knight added: “This could explain a slight rise in the number of reported incidents of prostitution and comments indicate wider changes in benefit reforms have further stretched their finances.

“This together with the cost of living going up will also have an effect on the number of reported incidents.”

Officers would now be patrolling more streets around the red light district following a public meeting.

Beckett Road, Charles Street and Cheshire Road will be patrolled.