Kairos Women Working Together (Kairos WWT) was established in 1999 and is a specialist organisation in Coventry run by women, for women. We provide holistic, trauma informed, long term support and advocacy for women who are subject to or at risk of sexual exploitation; including women who face multiple disadvantage and have ‘complex’ unmet needs. We empower women to increase their safety, stability, self-belief, and self-reliance; improve their life chances, and build fulfilled lives, free from violence, abuse, and exploitation.
‘Kairos’ is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘the right, critical, or opportune moment for the accomplishment of crucial action’. In Greek mythology, Kairos was the god of opportunity. We meet women where they are at, until the time is right for them to take action towards their goals. We provide options and create opportunities, supporting women to accomplish the change they want for their lives.
A world where every woman matters, and all women live free from sexual exploitation.
We empower women to increase their safety, stability, self-belief, and self-reliance, through the provision of emotional and practical support, advocacy, and awareness raising.
As a values-driven organisation, our work reflects our shared core values:
Compassion– We believe that women have the right to be respected and treated fairly. We act with humanity, listening with curiosity to come to an understanding of what is causing them difficulties or distress. We value them as unique individuals, hold space for them, and empathically seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities, and aspirations.
Empowerment– We recognise that the women we support have a right to self-determination. Rather than ‘rescue’, we support women to develop self-belief and establish a sense of choice, control, and agency within their lives. We do not treat women as passive recipients of help and we maintain strong professional boundaries to ensure we facilitate independence.
Justice– We understand that women at risk of or subject to sexual exploitation face significant injustice in their lives. They are often ignored, silenced, or pushed to the margins. As passionate advocates, we ensure their voices are amplified and rights are upheld. We seek to positively challenge and influence policy and systems to improve outcomes for all women.
Who We Support:
We support women subject to or at risk of sexual exploitation. This includes young women who were subjected to childhood sexual exploitation (CSE) and continue to be exploited or are at risk of further exploitation as adults, young women generally at risk of being sexually exploited, women actively involved in street-based prostitution and/or the wider sex industry, and women who wish to exit/have exited the sex industry and want support to maintain this. Because we support women at risk of exploitation, we also, more broadly, support women who are facing multiple disadvantage and have ‘complex’ unmet needs.
The Need We Address:
The women we support have all experienced trauma and struggle with the lasting impact of this. The majority were subjected to at least one form of childhood abuse. For those involved in prostitution, most were exploited into it as teenagers, some as young as 14 years old. Around three-quarters grew up in care and many have never experienced a safe, loving relationship. Many have had children removed from their care. The vast majority are routinely subjected to at least one form of violence and abuse: sexual violence, domestic violence, and/or coercive control. It is no surprise that many turn to substance use as a coping strategy. Two thirds of the women have spent time in prison. Most live in abject poverty, and have no safe space to call home.
The women face various barriers to accessing other services and typically, their needs are such that they would benefit from a holistic, flexible, long term approach. When involved in multiple services at the same time, this can be overwhelming and particularly difficult for women to navigate.
The Way We Work:
We believe that every woman matters. Our work is women-centred, trauma-informed, and hopeful. Our support is holistic, relational, and collaborative. As an organisation, we are striving to become more reflective, outcomes focussed, and evidence based in our professional practice.
Our approach is rooted in a critique of the institution of the sex industry, from a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) perspective, and places no moralistic judgement on the women we support.
We’re there for women in crisis, supporting them to increase their safety, reduce harm and ensure basic needs are met. We take time to build trusting relationships; persistence and flexibility are key.
We also recognise the need for women to move beyond entrenched cycles of crisis and harm. We support them to believe in their ability to achieve their goals and empower them to take the necessary steps along the way. We journey alongside them as they increase their stability and self-reliance. We fully recognise that such a journey is unique to each individual woman, is never linear, and needs to be long term.
Put simply, we empower women to change their lives. Women typically start with us when they are in crisis and find it difficult to envision life beyond their day to day (or perhaps even hour to hour) existence in ‘survival mode’. It takes time to build trust and it is understandable that women can cycle in and out of crisis several times at the beginning of and at times throughout their journey. Maintaining a period of stability is a big achievement in itself. This is often the opportune time for women to experience hope about their future and to set some longer-term goals for themselves.
Women report that with our support they feel safer and have developed greater self-belief. They’re more able to cope. Financial circumstances are better, and they are maintaining stable accommodation. Their family, peer, and intimate relationships have improved and they’ve built up positive support networks. They’ve broken free from the grip of perpetrators. Women tell us our support made all the difference in them addressing their substance use, being able to exit prostitution, or being able to keep their children in their care. Ultimately, we help women build fulfilled lives, free from violence, abuse, and exploitation.