Anti-Social Behaviour Team

Katie

Katie had been raised in children’s homes and was sexually abused as a child. She was referred to Elmore when she 43, and had been a class A drug user and sex worker since her teens. She had served time in prison, and had never had a legal job.

Katie was living with an abusive partner who was taking most of the money she got from sex working. She was using crack and heroin on top of a methadone script and also was also addicted to diazepam. She was ambivalent about giving up drugs and had been threatened with an ABC for her sex working. Her life was chaotic and it took Elmore six attempts to meet her for an assessment. During this time we continued to stay in touch with her, leaving her messages with other agencies so she knew we were still trying to contact her.

Katie began to engage but this was sporadic, and she was often severely under the influence of diazepam, alcohol and other drugs. We helped her to sort out her benefits and referred her to a low support housing project. Katie was given another police warning for sex working, and her case was discussed at the Sex Workers Intervention Panel (SWIP), and by CANAcT, the council’s Crime and Nuisance Action Team. It was suggested that she would be asked to sign an Acceptable Behavior Contract, but Elmore advocated for her, explaining the situation with her abusive partner, and managed to prevent this.

When Katie did secure a place on a supported housing project it looked like things were getting better for her. She attended a series of Elmore User-Involvement group meetings, and was a valuable member of the group. However, after a few weeks, there were complaints from other residents that Katie was sex working in her room.

Her substance use increased and her health deteriorated. We spent hours helping her to engage with medical appointments, giving her emotional support. With this support, Katie came round to the idea of going into detox, and let Elmore make a referral. We were liaising with many agencies around Katie’s support – the addictions services, the police, CANAcT, the Sex Workers Intervention Panel, the medical services, Steppin’ Stones, The Women’s Service, 2 Saints and Howard House.

Katie found the group work in detox very difficult and her drug use was so entrenched that she left before she had finished the program. We continue to support Katie; she has come a long way but has much further to go.

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Elmore Community Services (ECS) is a registered charity governed by a Board of Directors. It provides high quality services for marginalised and disenfranchised people throughout Oxfordshire. Elmore was established in 1989 after an Oxford research project identified the weaknesses of service provision for people deemed ‘difficult to place’.

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