In this week’s podcast, the abuse team discusses the ongoing issue of sexual harassment on the railway. In recent times, it is sadly not uncommon to see many headlines involving sexual harassment and assaults that have taken place on trains and underground lines across London and the rest of the UK.
Indecent exposure, name calling, touching, rape, initiating inappropriate conversation and other forms sexual assaults are all forms of abuse that have been seen and reported taking place on various train lines across the UK. Intrusive staring of a sexual nature is also considered sexual harassment and declared not to be tolerated.
There has been an increase in campaigns, particularly online video appeals, regarding this subject to raise awareness of the subject and encourage others to speak out if they witness sexual harassment taking place on board. This comes as the rail industry crack down on sexual harassment through partnering with BTP and Crimestoppers charity to launch a national campaign to ensure that people know and understand what constitutes such behaviour in the hope that by informing, if anyone is to witness sexual harassment ever happening, they can help combat it.
This follows research which showed a lack of awareness about the seriousness of non-physical types of sexual harassment. The campaign launched at the end of 2021 and is still ongoing.
Research undertaken by the Rail Delivery Group by 2CV revealed that only 30% of rail passengers realise that wolf whistling is sexual harassment and only 37% realised someone sitting too close to you on an otherwise quiet carriage also constitutes this too.
National rail have taken a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, further commenting:
“This campaign is part of a broader national strategy that aims to tackle sexual harassment on the railway, by making it clear what sexual harassment is, and highlighting how we can support each other day-to-day when travelling on the network. Making sure rail users feels safe, and letting perpetrators of sexual harassment know their behaviour is not tolerated on our network.”
British Transport Police have been increasing coverage of the topic across their social media platforms to raise awareness and reassure members of the public that they are committed to protecting victims of sexual abuse on trains.