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Antonia Quadara "Sex workers and sexual assault in Australia" ACSSA 2008

This paper provides a review of contemporary research on the sexual assault of sex workers in Australia. It focuses predominantly on the safety of sex workers in their work contexts. It aims to understand both what increases their vulnerability to sexual assault and what maximises their ability to negotiate safe encounters, disclose sexual assault and access support services. Although there is extensive literature on prostitution, there is little research on sex workers’ experiences of sexual assault, especially in work contexts (Alexander, 1998; Farley & Kelly, 2000; Pyett & Warr, 1999), and it is only recently beginning to be addressed (Penfold, Hunter, Campbell & Barham, 2004; Sanders & Campbell, 2007). This may be partly due to the perception that violence perpetrated against sex workers is an “inevitable consequence of engaging in the sex trade” (Pivot Legal Society, 2004, p. 14), rather than, as sex workers themselves have said, partly a consequence of identifiable factors such as location, or the laws regulating sex work (see Pivot Legal Society, 2004; 2006).

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