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30% spike in sexual harassment on London transport network, new figures show

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New figures show that there has been a 30% increase in sexual harassment offences across London’s transport network.

New figures obtained by Joanne McCartney AM, London Assembly Labour Group Police and Crime Spokesperson, show that there has been a 30% increase in sexual harassment offences across London’s transport network (from April-June 2014, compared to the same period last year). On the back of these findings, Joanne McCartney AM welcomed the Mayor’s admission that an awareness raising campaign would be belatedly launched in an attempt to halt this trend

Questioning the Mayor and TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy during a session of the London Assembly yesterday (Wednesday), McCartney noted that the need for campaigns to raise awareness of sexual harassment on the transport network had been called for by her Labour London Assembly colleague Jennette Arnold OBE AM in 2012. Ms Arnold had called on the Mayor and Mr Hendy to replicate similar successful publicity schemes introduced in New York and Lambeth.

In light of the increase in sexual harassment reports on the transport network, the Mayor acknowledged that action was needed and said that an awareness campaign was now in development. In his response to Ms McCartney’s questioning, Johnson replied “we certainly will (introduce a poster campaign)…We will be having a very pro-active campaign on that.”

Ms McCartney also noted that although increased reporting may play a part in the spike, TfL’s Safety and Security Report 2013/2014 found that 96% of respondents who had encountered sexual harassment did not report it. The same figure for the previous year was 90%, suggesting that reporting rates actually decreased, and supporting the indication that the number of incidents is increasing.

Commenting on the spike in sexual harassment, London Assembly Labour Group Police and Crime Spokesperson, Joanne McCartney AM, said:

“While a proportion of this increase in sexual harassment could be down to increased reporting, that doesn’t tell the whole story. A 30% increase on last year, and a 29% increase over the last four years is not just down to more people coming forward – it’s because sexual harassment is clearly becoming more of an issue.

“I am glad that Boris and TfL have finally woken up to the fact that these figures are simply unacceptable. We first called for awareness raising campaign two years ago but it’s taken until now for the Mayor to announce that this will become a reality. While I am disappointed it has taken this long for the Mayor to take notice, I welcome the fact that he will finally take action.”

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