Third of women verbally abused on London transport, survey says

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Media captionThe poll surveyed 6,000 women around the world

Almost a third of women have been verbally abused on London's transport network, according to a poll.

A survey of 400 women by YouGov and the Thomson Reuters Foundation also suggested a fifth had been physically assaulted.

The global ranking puts the safety of London's transport system behind that of New York, Beijing and Tokyo, but ahead of Paris.

British Transport Police's Mark Newton said: "We are taking this seriously."

Women in London also have significantly less confidence in the authorities and public bystanders coming to their aid than women in New York City.

'Step back'

Bryony Beyon, campaigner for the Hollaback charity, which campaigns against street harassment, said: "I've experienced all sorts of verbal and physical harassment across London's transport network."

"I've had people expose themselves to me on buses. I've been groped on the Tube," she added.

"It's an incredibly common thing and it's often not spoken about. There's a culture of silence around this."

Many respondents said they felt so unsafe they would like some Tube carriages to be set aside for women only.

A total of 45% of women in London said they would feel safer using in sections reserved for women.

But Laura Bates from the Everyday Sexism Project, which records instances of sexism experienced by women, said this would be "a step backwards".

"It seems to accept that the problem is acceptable - that men will to harass women and that all we can do is contain them," she said.

British Transport Police Assistant Ch Const Mark Newton said: "You can generally say that if you have an offence made against you on the British transport network, we probably have an image of the offender - on the train, entering the station, or even leaving the station.

"What we need is people to take the step forward and have the confidence in us that we are really going to take this seriously."

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