Intended for healthcare professionals


Violence by clients towards female prostitutes in different work settings: questionnaire survey

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 03 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:524
  1. Stephanie Church (, research fellowa,
  2. Marion Henderson, senior researcherb,
  3. Marina Barnard, senior research fellowa,
  4. Graham Hart, associate directorb
  1. a Centre for Drug Misuse Research, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8SQ
  2. b Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Science Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ
  1. Correspondence to: S Church
  • Accepted 2 November 2000

Violence by clients towards prostitutes has seldom been the focus of public and academic interest, yet it is a major health issue. 1 2 Concern has mostly focused on the potential of prostitutes to transmit sexual infections, notably HIV, to their clients and subsequently partners.3 Features of female prostitution that have a direct impact on the health of prostitutes but not the health of others have therefore tended to be overlooked. The scant research that is available on violence by clients shows that prostitutes who work outdoors in particular routinely confront clients who are verbally, sexually, and physically violent towards them. 4 5 We report on the prevalence of violence by clients against female prostitutes working either outdoors or indoors in three major British cities.

Methods and results

During 1999 three female researchers (SC, MB, and Catherine Benso) contacted 240 female prostitutes; 115 worked outdoors (40 in Leeds, …

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