A sex worker brutally attacked with a claw hammer could have been reluctant to report it to police due to the stigma of her industry, a charity leader has said.
Stuart Marley, 23, attacked the woman with the tool before robbing her.
Marley, from Aberdeen, had agreed to pay the woman £80 for sexual acts, though she had refused to have sexual intercourse with him and had advised him to look elsewhere.
He returned to a property in the city hours later saying he had “a surprise” for her – and then attacked her, while a child slept in another room.
The victim was left with skull fractures.
At the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Marley admitted repeatedly striking the woman on the head and body with a hammer to her severe injury and the danger of her life and robbing her of a purse and money on May 6.
The court heard the victim was shocked and frightened during her ordeal and had begged Marley to stop.
The court was told the woman’s injuries were not life-threatening, but the assault had the potential to endanger her life.
Ugly Mugs, a charity helping sex workers, said the stigma surrounding the industry could have put the victim off reporting the incident.
The organisation’s acting chief officer, Kerry Swindells, said: “What is most disturbing about this incident is the victim contacted a relative and not the police when subjected to such a horrendously violent assault.
“With over 3,500 incidents of crimes against sex workers reported (in the UK) to us since Ugly Mugs was set up in 2012, we know violent assaults are only too real for sex workers – with over half of the incidents reported to us containing acts of violence.”
Ms Swindells added: “Unfortunately, due to the stigma surrounding sex work and problematic laws, these act as barriers to sex workers reporting some of the most serious incidents to police for fear of criminalisation, being believed or judged and simply means that revealing their identity to report crimes against them can have hugely negative consequences.
“Unfortunately, the impact of this is that offenders can continue their crimes and escalate their behaviours undetected, confident that they won’t be reported to police.”
Ugly Mugs was set up to allow sex workers to report such incidents – and the charity uses information it gathers to warn sex workers of the risk individuals pose.
“Working with police and services through our training programmes, we want to ensure sex workers can be confident that, if they did choose to report to police, the response and support will be appropriate and they will not be judged,” said Ms Swindells.
“Our mission is ending violence against sex workers and we will continue our work for as long as it takes and support sex workers to make sure their voices are heard and, for those who are choosing to sex work, that they have the right to be safe while working.”
At Thursday’s hearing, Judge Lady Wise deferred sentence on Marley until later this month for background reports to be carried out.