A total of 6,160 sex attacks, including 80 rapes, have been reported in a five year period on Britain’s railways, with commuters in London and the south of England most at risk of being sexually assaulted.
The Mirror reported that during the period of 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2015, British Transport Police (BTP) received reports of a total of 6,160 sex attacks. Women in their twenties and teenage boys were most at risk, with the youngest victim a two-year-old toddler.
The figures revealed that the number of sex crimes recorded on mainline and underground trains and stations has doubled in just four years, with 992 attacks reported in 2011, 1,335 reported in 2014, and for last year 1,815 which averages to five sexual assaults every day. And the number of reported attacks appears to be on the rise.
A surprising find was that commuters are more likely to be victims of sexual assault during rush hour – when trains are packed and at their busiest – so at 8am and between 5-7pm.
Most offences were committed against girls and women aged 15-30, with women aged 24 most at risk, and boys aged 15 and 16.
Of the 6,160 offences during the five-year period 80 rapes were reported to the BTP, of which 63 were committed against men and women over the age of 16, 12 girls under the age of 16, and two children under 13 years of age.
In addition there were 3,300 sexual assaults on girls and women over 13 years of age, and 158 on boys and men of the same age grouping.
There were also 700 instances of exposure, 1,457 acts of “outraging public decency”, and 61 occurrences of voyeurism. Other sex crimes included the abuse of children through prostitution and pornography.
The oldest attacked was an 84-year-old woman, the youngest a two-year-old girl. Two mentally ill passengers, and nine men and women over the age of 70 were also subjected to sex attacks.
It was revealed that commuters most at risk were those in the south of England and London. The London Underground Central Line had the highest number of sex crimes recorded at 595, followed by mainline train company Southeastern with 419 attacks. At number three was Network Rail (366) which owns and manages a number of major stations across Britain, including King’s Cross, London Bridge, and Victoria.
On the Underground, there were reports of sexual assault on the Northern (326), Piccadilly (290), Jubilee (279), and Victoria (264) lines. Other southern England rail companies with high rates of recorded sexual attacks included South West Trains (349), Southern (277), and Great Western (271) with covers the south west, west and parts of Wales.
All companies above accounting for the ‘top ten’ of highest recorded sex crimes in the five year period.
In response to this staggering and disturbing data, Steve Burton, Transport for London’s Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: “No one should have to experience unwanted sexual behaviour on our network and we are determined to stamp it out.
“Working closely with the police, our ‘Report it to Stop it’ campaign encourages customers to report anything that has made them feel uncomfortable and they can be confident that we will take swift action.”
A Southeastern spokesman said: “These figures indicate a greater confidence in victims reporting crimes to the police and that is important as it increases the likelihood of anyone carrying out such an offence being brought to justice. It also acts as a deterrent to others.”
The BTP said that it “fully expected” the rise in reports of “unwanted sexual behaviour” after launching its ‘Report it to Stop it’ campaign in April which encourages victims of assault to come forward.
The figures come out days after the re-release of footage of a woman fleeing a sex attacker at Selly Oak train station. The attack happened in September 2015, but with the attacker still at large the BTP re-released the footage in hopes that it would “prick someone’s conscience and move them to do the right thing”.