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North-east MSP calls for action as sexual assaults on women hit 10-year high on trains

By Kirsty Brown

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Sexual assaults reported by women on Scotland’s railways have hit a decade high, prompting calls for urgent action.

North-east MSP Tess White is campaigning for improved safety after British Transport Police said dozens of sex attacks are being carried out on women on board trains each year.

Officers received 46 reports of women being sexually assaulted while travelling on trains last year , which is the highest total since 2012.

Furthermore in 2021 12 male victims reported sexual assault and 15 instances of sexual assault where the gender of the victim was not recorded were also reported.

The figures from the British Transport Police also show 301 women were threatened, harassed or commonly assaulted last year, second only to 2019 when there were 325.

MSP Tess White is now calling for dedicated awareness and information campaigns in trains, on platforms and in stations that aim to inform passengers of a phone number or application to use to report harassment as she described the number of attacks on women as “horrendous”.

MSP Tess White
MSP Tess White

She said: “These figures are sickening and highlight that women are being completely let down by the system which isn’t doing enough to protect them on public transport.

“If we are serious about tackling this then the Scottish Government must act urgently by improving education about it in schools and homes as well as properly funding public services to address the issue because these appalling attacks must stop.

“Women should be able to wear what they want without the threat of sexual harassment and violence and shouldn’t have to put headphones on in fear of the tide of abuse which may be aimed at them.

“It’s not just on board trains that women are at risk, it’s the wait at the platform or the walk home from the station where we have to clutch onto our keys and mobile phone for safety.

“Across the north-east and the rest of the country, women are rightly asking ‘what will it take’ for the status quo to change.

“This is why it’s vital the Scottish Government addresses these horrendous attacks which are occurring daily in different places across our public transport networks.”

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