Portsmouth sex workers warned after hammer attack

Police have given safety advice to Portsmouth sex workers after a hammer attack on a teenage girl.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 8:04 am
Updated Friday, 15th April 2016, 10:58 am

This week detectives released CCTV showing a shadowy figure running across Shearer Road in Fratton after the attack.

Last night they issued an efit image of a brown-haired bearded man.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Police are now considering whether this address was specifically targeted due to links with the sex trade and are working with charities and support agencies to ensure that community groups that may be affected by this development are given appropriate advice about personal safety.’

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A man was seen running across Shearer Road, past the Shearer Arms pub and into Beecham Road in Buckland, Portsmouth, at the time of the attack, which left the teenager with life-threatening injuries. It happened at 7pm on Monday.

The teenaged victim is still in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Hampshire domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn, which works with vulnerable women in Portsmouth, said police have not yet approached her to help.

But she’s urging women to stay safe and reach out for support.

Ms Dillon said: ‘We would urge anyone with information about the perpetrator or perpetrators of this attack to please contact the police.

Our message to anyone working in the sex trade who is frightened or feels at risk is to contact us on our helpline for Portsmouth 02392 472165.

‘We can reassure anyone calling that we already run programmes for women in prison dealing with harm minimisation and the potentials for exiting sex work.

‘In addition to this if you just need emotional support and a safe place to disclose please contact us. Violence and abuse is not your fault and we will endeavour to ensure you feel supported in line with your needs.’