FOI reveals massive rise in unwanted sexual behaviour on Greater Manchester trains

Reports of unwanted sexual behaviour on Greater Manchester’s rail network have more than doubled over the past year, MM can reveal.

Shocking figures in a Freedom of Information response from British Transport Police (BTP) highlight a sharp rise in recorded incidents on trains and at stations across the area.

Examples of unwanted sexual behaviour can include cases of rubbing, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts, and more serious sexual assault.

Of the cases recorded by BTP for 2015/16, 82% of incidents were reported by female victims.

BTP Chief Inspector Andrea Graham said: “Any sexual offence is too many and can be devastating for the victim.

“We are determined to tackle all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour and ensure the rail network in Greater Manchester remains a safe environment.

“We actively encourage the public to report any incidents of unwanted sexual behaviour to us and are pleased that more people are doing so.”

BTP’s statistics for 2015/16 show there were 41 recorded incidents, compared to 20 for the previous year, and representing the highest level since 2011/12 when 30 incidents were recorded.

Of last year’s incidents, 34 were reported by female victims, four were reported by male victims, while three occurrences were reported by other members of the public on a victim’s behalf.

Last year, BTP launched the Report it to Stop It campaign, which encourages all victims of unwanted sexual behaviour on trains to report their experiences.

CI Graham believes that such reports could continue to increase as a result of BTP’s campaign.

“Though it is clearly a concern that so many people are affected by this type of crime, it is pleasing that previously reluctant victims of sexual offences now have the confidence to report this to us,” she said.

“We take every report seriously and our specially trained officers work hard to find those responsible, by speaking with witnesses and reviewing the extensive CCTV available to us on the rail network.”

Victims of unwanted sexual behaviour can text BTP’s non-emergency number to report incidents on 61016.

For more information on the service click here, and to find out more about Report it to Stop it click here.

Image courtesy of West Midlands Police, via Flickr, with thanks

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