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Third Sector

In 2002, I established with students and colleagues the Social Inclusion and Diversity Research Group at York St. John College (now York St. John University) to further develop our understanding of the exclusion experienced by minority groups in the North of England. In 2004, SID was formally recognised as a Research Unit (which we called ‘SID’) with its own offices and budgets. Commissioners of services included: Charitable Organisations; City, Borough and County Councils; Education Services; Government Agencies; Primary Care Trusts and Sexual Health Organisations. Surplus deriving from contracts was used to support widening participation particularly through the establishment of postgraduate student bursaries. SID was nominated by North Yorkshire LEA for the 2005 Times Higher Awards in the category Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community. Some of the projects we conducted and final reports are featured below (click on the report titles to link to download page):

Men and Boys Selling Sex in the Bradford District

Authors: Patricia Hudson & Ian Rivers

Executive Summary

This report provides a summary of key findings from a study commissioned by Yorkshire MESMAC exploring the experiences and needs of men and boys who are involved in selling sex in the Bradford district. This study consisted of three related projects outlined below.

Project A: Survey of Agencies in the Bradford Area
The first author (PH) conducted an interviewbased survey of 31 representatives from 21 local statutory and voluntary sector agencies exploring their perceptions of the issue of men and boys involved in selling sex, and considering ways in which local services could best respond to their
needs. Responses indicated that:

  • 78% of agency representatives believed that young men selling sex in the Bradford area was an issue that needed to be addressed.
  • 52% of agency representatives had direct evidence of young men who were involved in selling sex in the Bradford area.
  • 87% felt that action should be taken to address the issue of young men involved in selling sex in the Bradford area.

Project B: Local Awareness of Men Selling Sex
Thirty-seven men under the age of 40 completed a short questionnaire exploring their levels of awareness and possible involvement in selling or purchasing sexual services. Results indicated that:

  • Adverts for men selling sex had been observed by gay/bisexual and heterosexual men in the Bradford district.
  • One-third of gay/bisexual men and one young heterosexual man had been approached by a man and offered sex for money on more than one occasion.
  • 10% of the gay/bisexual men surveyed reported having sold sex.
  • Reasons for offering sexual services or receiving payment for sex included being pressurized to perform in pornographic videos or pictures, or receiving shelter/ accommodation for the night

Project C: Men Selling Sex

Seven men who sell or have sold sex in the Bradford area were interviewed by the first author using a structured interview schedule. Responses suggested that:

  • Sex with young men under the age of 16 is sought by men in the Bradford area.
  • Men who sell sex on the streets have less control over the types of sex for which payment is offered than those who are house/flat/hotel-based.
  • Men who sell sex on the streets face much more violence than those who sell sex from a house/flat/hotel.
  • Selling sex on the streets often follows a chance encounter with an exploitative older man during teenage years.
  • Selling sex from a house/flat tends to be a deliberate decision by older men.

Two recommendations were offered by the researchers:

  1. Provision of a local support service responding to the needs of men and boys who are involved in selling sex.
  2. Commission further research exploring the issues highlighted in the report.

What Can We Do For LGBQ Youth in North Yorkshire? An Assessment of Service Needs and Provision in the Sub-Region.

Authors: Andrew Richards and Ian Rivers


Executive Summary

This report is the summary of a five-month project, commissioned by Yorkshire MESMAC investigating the support provision and support needs amongst Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) youth living in North Yorkshire. The project consisted of two elements:

  • Mapping the current support available to LGB youth (16-25) in North Yorkshire.  Five voluntary and fifteen statutory sector agencies provided input. Assessment was based on the extent to which each agency catered for the specific needs of LGB youth. Results indicated a deficit in LGB specific service provision. Support specifically aimed at the LGB population was limited to three voluntary agencies and one youth group. Generic statutory agencies varied in their ability to cater for the needs of LGB youth.
  • A qualitative investigation into the experiences of service provision and perceived needs of LGB youth living in North Yorkshire. Participants (n= 22) reported a diverse range of needs linked to sexual minority status.

Five recommendations were offered by the research team:


  1. Services should evaluate their own provision against the needs of LGB youth.
  2. Training opportunities for staff working within services/agencies.
  3. The development of links between LGB service providers and more generic service providers.
  4. More information and support available to LGB youth of compulsory school age and above.
  5. The establishment of LGB youth groups across the area and drop-in venues with appropriately trained support staff.

Drug and Alcohol Use among LGBTs in the City of Leeds

Authors: Nathalie Noret & Ian Rivers

Executive Summary

This report provides a summary of key findings from a community study commissioned by Yorkshire MESMAC focusing upon drug and alcohol use by LGBTs in the City of Leeds

Project A
Representatives from seven drug and alcohol organisations in Leeds were interviewed about the services they provide and how accessible they believe those services to be to be for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in the City of Leeds. Key findings included:

  • Only one of the groups had ever held an LGBT specific support group.
  • Only one of the groups were aware that they had LGB or, by implication, transgender clients, the rest were unsure as they do not ask such information of their clients.
  • Two of the groups had attended training sessions on LGBT specific issues.
  • None of the groups had any specific policies in place for treating/supporting LGBT clients.
  • Two of the groups had equality statements in their leaflets making LGBTs aware that they would be welcome.
  • Three of the support groups distributed their leaflets at LGBT support groups and venues.

Project B
101 participants completed a short questionnaire which asked about their use of alcohol and other substance, whether they had ever accessed any of
the services in Leeds and had unprotected sex as a result of drug use. The main findings were as follows:

  • 4% of the sample had no know history of substance use, including alcohol.
  • 21% of the sample reported using a Class ‘A’ substance, the most commonly cited was Ecstasy.
  • 4% of participants had attended a drug or alcohol support group in Leeds.
  • Of the 97 who had not accessed any of Leeds’ drug or alcohol services, 64 argued that they did not believe their alcohol/drug use to be a problem.
  • Of the 64, 20 scored highly on a standardised measure of drug and alcohol addiction risk.
  • 49% reported having had unsafe sex in the past year while under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances.

The researchers recommended that there was a need for:

  1. Increased awareness among drug and alcohol services of the specific needs of LGBTs.
  2. That drug and alcohol support services are more accessible for LGBTs.
  3. Increased awareness among LGBT communities of the existence and location of alcohol and drug services.
  4. Increased awareness of the dangers associated with drug and alcohol use.

In 2005, I moved to Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh as Professor of Community & Applied Psychology. I produced two brief reports for Lothian and Borders Police in collaboration with two of my dissertation students, Colin Farquhar (BSc Psychology), and Leah Cronin (MSc, Health Psychology).

Homophobic Incidents and LGBT Safety in the City of Edinburgh

Authors: Colin Farquhar & Ian Rivers


The results from this study demonstrate that there was an under-reporting of incidents perpetrated against LGBTs in the City of Edinburgh. In the last five years, participants indicated that, despite the fact the 26% (53) had been a victim of one or more incidents of physical assault, sexual assault, robbery/theft, vandalism, or domestic violence, less that half had been reported to the Police. In the last year, proportionally more women than men were willing to report incidents to the Police, although it must be acknowledged that rates of victimisation were significantly lower for women than for men. Overall, Lothian and Borders Police personnel were rated between ‘good’ and ‘average’ in terms of their sensitivity, approachability and understanding when dealing with members of the LGBT community. However of concern was the fact that participants who had been victims of one or more anti-LGBT incidents rated police personnel less favourably than non-victims, and this requires further consideration. As a result of this study, Lothian and Borders Police redeveloped their remote reporting schemes for hate-related crimes.

The Smoking Ban: Perceptions of Safety on Edinburgh’s Scene

Authors: Leah Cronin & Ian Rivers


The smoking ban was introduced in Scotland on the 26th March, 2006 making smoking in enclosed public places illegal (Haw et al., 2006). Generally the ban has the support of the majority of Scotland’s population. For example, of the 1,040 individuals interviewed, 73% thought that the ban had been very successful or successful. A number of strategies have been set in motion to assess the significant health gains that the ban entails for the population of Scotland. However, one aspect of health that has not been considered in the evaluative process is that of personal safety as a consequence of standing outside public venues (, 2007). In Scotland, those studies aimed at evaluating the impact of the smoking ban have, to all intents and purposes, ignored members of Scotland’s LGB population, focusing primarily upon the impact of the ban for families and children. Thus, LGBs represent a silent group in this nationwide evaluation. Consequently, the aim of this exploratory (qualitative) study is to understand the effects of the new social regime on LGBs who smoke.

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