Half of London women fear sexual harassment on the Tube

 
Kathryn Gaw
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Most women in London have experienced harassment on the tube (Source: Getty)

It turns out the Tube can be a scary place.

More than half of women in London worry about sexual harassment on public, according to new research - and 23 per cent said they had been victims of groping or other unwanted physical contact.

Other Londoners said they had been subject to sexually offensive name calling and wolf-whistling while commuting by Tube, bus or train.

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In the run up to International Safe Cities Day tomorrow, charity ActionAid asked women across the world about their experiences of sexual harassment on public transport – in the UK, 36 per cent of women said they felt at risk of harassment on public transport, but this figure rose to 51 per cent in London.

“It is incredibly worrying so many women in London feel at risk of this every day,” said Sarah Carson, ActionAid’s women’s rights campaign manager. “This is a problem that extends to women in cities around the world.”

The survey found 86 per cent of women in Brazil and Thailand had experienced sexual harassment or violence in public areas, while in the UK, younger women appeared to be at higher risk – 92 per cent of women aged 18-34 said that they had been victims of some sort of harassment in urban areas.

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“Every day women around the world face groping, unwanted touching and many other forms of harassment on the streets of their cities,” said Carson.

“But behind every statistic are real women. It is appalling and unacceptable that this is happening in cities around the world.”

The figures were announced by ActionAid ambassadors Imelda Staunton and Jodie Whittaker at an eye-catching exhibition at Marble Arch, which features 30 mannequins emblazoned with anti-harassment messages. One third of the mannequins are painted red, representing the one in three women and girls who will be victims of sexual harassment in their lifetime.

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Between April and December 2015, there were 1,603 reports of sex offences on London’s Underground, trains and buses, up from 1,117 for the same period the previous year. There are concerns this figure could rise with the launch of the much-delayed Night Tube.

However, a recent study by the British Transport Police found that just one in 10 Londoners reported unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport to the police.

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