The number of sexual assaults on trains and Tubes reported to police has more than doubled since 2012, according to new figures.
In 2016-17 there were 1,448 reported offences on trains in England, Scotland and Wales and on the London Underground – a sharp rise from the 650 recorded in 2012-2013, the BBC reported. The British Transport Police (BTP) statistics, obtained by BBC Radio 5 live, also showed that most of the recorded assaults were on females aged 13 and over. However, they don't necessarily suggest that sexual assaults have become more common, with charities saying that they may show that victims have become more aware of how to report offences, which is to be celebrated.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition said it's important that such awareness-raising campaigns continue. "When the scale of sexual violence is better understood, police forces take it more seriously and measures can be taken to reduce the risks to women and tackle perpetrators, who for too long had been acting with impunity," said Rachel Krys, its co-director.
She added: "These figures showed that it is sober men, travelling to and from work who thought they were entitled to assault women passengers, and that they would get away with it," reported the BBC.
The figures come a year after research showed that most sexual assaults on the London Tube occur during rush hour in jam-packed trains, counteracting the belief that late-night drinking culture is to blame for such offences.
The BTP said the new statistics show that its 'Report it to stop it' campaign had been a success. It urges people to report behaviour "of a sexual nature, including rubbing, groping, masturbation, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts, or someone taking photos of you without your consent".
Detective Chief Inspector Darren Malpas, from the BTP, said "tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport is a priority" for the force. "We have worked hard in recent years to send a clear message to victims that they will be taken seriously and we will investigate offences," he added.
Sadly, public transport seems to bring out the worst of human behaviour in other ways, too. Just this week a woman called out fellow passengers who forced her to stand while she breastfed her baby, watching porn on public transport is on the rise, and pregnant women still struggle to get a seat. What is it about trains and the London Underground that make them a hotbed of antisocial and downright unacceptable behaviour?
If you are a victim of a sexual offence on a train or the London Underground you can text the BTP in confidence on 61016.