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20 October 2023 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Rail industry cracks down on sexual harassment


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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.

If you or someone you know have experienced sexual abuse or harassment, please get in touch with our sexual abuse specialists for an informal discussion.

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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