British Transport Police urge teenage girls in the East of England to report sexual harassment

Crime / Sat 1st Jun 2024 at 01:07pm

BRITISH Transport Police urge teenage girls in the East of England to report sexual harassment as singer Lex Gibbon releases new single, “Audacity”

British Transport Police is today (Wednesday 29 May) releasing new statistics that suggest sexual harassment is underreported by teenage girls in the East of England. Also today, Lex Gibbon, 19, recounts her experience of harassment in new single. 

Crime statistics released today show that: 

  • In 2022, 663 teenage girls reported sexual offences or harassment to British Transport Police. 
  • In the East of England in 2023, this number rose from 59 to 85, a 31% difference. 

The increase is believed to reflect improved awareness that you can report any type of sexual behaviour that makes you uncomfortable. However, police believe that many incidents are still going unreported.  

One of the real stories behind the statistics is brought to life in Lex Gibbon’s new single, ‘Audacity’. Lex wrote the song after a man followed her through an underground train station, verbally abused her and touched her. 

At the time, Lex had not heard of British Transport Police’s text 61016 service and did not report the incident. Lex later discovered text 61016 and approached British Transport Police to collaborate on the launch of her single to raise awareness.  

Police believe that many girls have experienced similar behaviour and, like Lex, are unaware that it can be reported to police. As shown in the song’s lyrics, police believe that many girls blame themselves for what happened. Today, officers are reassuring victims that sexual harassment is never their fault and urging everyone to save text 61016 in their phone. 

Lex Gibbon said:

 “I was followed through an underground train station by a man who made me feel extremely unsafe, scared and vulnerable. 

“At the time I had no idea that text 61016 existed. I believe it’s really important to help women feel safer on public transport, so when I wrote ‘Audacity’ about my experience I felt it could really raise awareness for the initiative. 

“I’ve now reported and spent a day with British Transport Police, and I’ve seen how seriously they take sexual harassment. 

“If someone does this to me again, I’ll be texting it in. Please save 61016 in your phone and use it to report this sort of creepy behaviour.”  

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Paul Furnell said: 

“The man’s behaviour as described by Lex is completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that acting like this on the rail network has serious consequences. 

“As well as our uniformed and plain clothes officers, 150,000 CCTV cameras and your fellow passengers are watching you. 

“We’re receiving more and more reports about sexual harassment, as people have had enough of this disgusting behaviour and know we prioritise tackling it. We use reports from multiple passengers to secure the strongest possible sentences for sex offenders. 

“Sadly, we know that many women feel that they have no option but to put up with sexual harassment. That’s not the case: if someone is persistently bothering you and makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please text 61016 to report it. 

“Our officers are on patrol 24/7 and can meet trains at the next station. If it happens on the tube and you don’t have signal, you can speak to staff or text us at the next station. 

“Nothing is too small to report and sexual harassment is never your fault. Save text 61016 in your phone today”. 

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Director of Security, Policing and Enforcement, said: 

“We are deeply sorry that Lex experienced this horrific incident on our network. The safety of women and girls is an absolute priority for us and we are committed to tackling sexual harassment, working closely with the police to make our capital’s transport network a hostile place for offenders.

“We are actively promoting the importance of reporting crimes that we know are underreported, and welcome the increase in reporting of sexual offences as evidence that more women and girls and bystanders have the confidence to come forward and report experiences, knowing that they will be taken seriously and that offenders will be pursued. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses this behaviour to report it to the police or a member of staff so that we can take action against offenders and put the right measures in place to prevent this from happening.”

Listen to Audacity here: https://collect.wetransfer.com/board/slw1b24i1i4x0o9n320240409172645

How to report 

Every report is important. See it or experience it, you can report anything that makes you uncomfortable by text 61016, via the Railway Guardian app or by calling 0800 40 50 40. 

Click here to save text 61016 in your phone today: https://qr1.be/X0RR

You can also report past incidents and anonymously report sexual offences at btp.police.uk. 

In an emergency, always call 999.

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1 Comment for British Transport Police urge teenage girls in the East of England to report sexual harassment:

rosi pite
2024-06-03 13:31:51

I reported my abuse and so did my friend z and it got us nowhere. to much support for victims but no action

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