England

Children as young as six sexually assaulted on railways

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There have been over two thousand incidents since 2013 of reported sexual assault on Britain's railways

Children as young as six have been sexually assaulted on Britain's railways, police figures show.

Figures revealed there were 542 incidents since 2013 where victims aged 16 and under have allegedly been assaulted on trains or at stations.

The data, obtained by LBC from British Transport Police (BTP) showed reported sexual offences on Britain's railways doubled in four years.

BTP say they prioritise tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 2,382 alleged sexual offences on trains and at stations, reported to the police in 2017, up from 1,049 in 2013.

The figures include incidents on both mainline railways and the London underground.

The figures released by BTP show there were two instances - one in 2014 and one in 2015 where the victim was aged just six years of age. In both cases arrests were subsequently made.

British Transport Police has run the "Report It To Stop It" campaign since April 2015 to encourage victims of any unwanted sexual behaviour to come forward.

A force spokesman said: "Tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport is a priority for British Transport Police and we have worked hard in recent years to send a clear message to victims that they will be taken seriously and we will thoroughly investigate offences".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption British Transport Police say specialist officers are used to patrol trains and the London underground

Katie Russell from Rape Crisis England & Wales said the figures underline a growing trend in the number of sexual offences being reported.

"These figures are really striking and reflect the high levels of sexual violence of all kinds being perpetrated against both children and adults across the UK.

Sexual offences are chronically and hugely under-reported compared to other crimes, however, it could be that these significant increases reflect a growing willingness and confidence on the part of victims and survivors to report, rather than a rise in incidents themselves."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites