FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive an SMS to my Safety NUMber?

No this is not possible. The SMS will send but not be received by you. This is a telephone call only system. Any SMS messages or calls sent from your handset will be from your existing number.

Are you funded by the police?

NUM does receive some funding from individual police forces and we are 100% open about it.  We are completely independent of police and would never take money from them if there were any strings attached.  Our key principles of supporting sex workers if they want to report to the police but being vocally critical of the police where appropriate are central to what we do.  Without police funding we would simply have to close.  We also believe that police should fund us because one of the reasons why we exist is because they’re not good at engaging with sex workers and sex workers often don't get justice as a result.

Could NUM be promoted by some as an alternative to decriminalisation?

Based on research evidence and experience of the reasons why sex workers are targeted, NUM has a strong position in favour of decriminalisation.  If we ever heard anyone promoting NUM as an alternative then we would correct them.  NUM shouldn’t need to exist but unfortunately in our current legal framework it does need to exist because of stigma, and criminalisation entrenches stigma.  NUM Director of Services regularly speaks openly in favour of decriminalisation.

Does NUM deter sex workers from pursuing attackers to court? Is anyone told that 'reporting to NUM is enough'?

Reporting to NUM is not an alternative. We encourage people to report to the police and provide support and advocacy for them in doing so. We are explicit that NUM is not an alternative - merely reporting to us and not to the police will not result in an offender being convicted. We encourage people who absolutely don’t want to engage with the police to still report to NUM so we can produce warning to circulate to sex workers.

Does NUM change police priorities?

We work hard to influence policing and have many examples where we have changed policing in many areas leading to a move away from enforcement.  We’ve delivered police training to hundreds of officers outlining the consequences of enforcement and the rights of sex workers to police protection.  The NUM Team are vocal public critics of police enforcement.

How do we know NUM anonymous intelligence won’t be used by police with bad intent?

Intelligence is only shared with police anonymously with explicit consent from the sex worker.  Anonymously means that none of the details of the sex worker or working premises are ever shared so it would be very difficult for this information to be used in any way that could harm the sex worker reporting or their place of work.  We would go to court to defend a sex worker’s right to anonymity if required.

Have NUM been involved with compulsory 'rehabilitation' orders?

We receive reports from a variety of organisations supporting sex workers which is crucial to sharing information to sex workers about people who pose a threat to them.  NUM has never been involved with compulsory rehabilitation orders and would never consider being involved in any such policy in future.

Is my information safe?

We will do everything possible to protect your information. Please go back to the membership part of the site which explains what we will do to protect you.

Will you tell the police?

We will never divulge your identity or personal information to the police unless we are legally required to do so. Please go back to the membership part of the site for more information on this.

What's the point?

The whole point of the NUM Scheme is to provide sex workers with information to warn them of people who pose a risk to them or may potentially hurt them. By us all working together we are playing our part in keeping sex workers as safe as possible. Another important function of the Scheme is to gather as much information about the number and types of violence perpetrated against sex workers as this has never been done before. This enables us to challenge the Government and people who make the laws and lobby for actions to address the issue. Violence against sex workers is wrong, unacceptable and needs to stop NOW!

What if I change my mind and want to leave and cancel my membership?

It’s easy to cancel your membership, just e-mail the NUM Team on admin@uglymugs.org or call us on 0161 629 9861. You can rejoin simply at any time.