Sexual assaults have been on the rise on the London Underground over the past four years, according to new figures, which say incidents that are being reported are just the tip of the iceberg.
Incidents reported on the London Underground — also known as the Tube — show that sexual assaults have soared by 42 percent in the last four years, according to an analysis by the UK national news agency, PA media.
The attacks recorded on the Underground jumped from 844 in 2015-2016 to 1,206 in 2018-2019, according to the report.
Transport for London (TfL) reported in the meantime that such abusive behavior occurs more commonly in the day, with the longer, busier lines seeing more assaults.
In the 12 months to March 2019, there were 305 recorded sexual assaults on the Central line, making up about a quarter of the total for the year, according to TfL.
Campaigners, however, say sexual assaults are still under-reported and that they need to do more to stop attackers before they strike.
A campaign has been launched by the London police and TfL — entitled “Report It To Stop It” — which works to encourage anyone who experiences unwanted sexual behavior on public transport to report the incident.
“With the campaign in place since April 2015, we fully expected to record a rise in sexual offenses and, 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 offenses now have the confidence to report this to us,” said Detective Inspector David Udomhiaye.
The British Transport Police (BTP) said they expected a rise in sexual assaults following a drive to encourage victims to report unwanted sexual behavior.
Andrea Simon, the End Violence Against Women Coalition’s head of public affairs, however, said it is not enough to just encourage the reporting of sexual harassment and assaults, and that offenders need to be identified and stopped alongside this.
“More undercover patrols take place on the Central line than any other line and a programmed of work is under way to install CCTV on the line as quickly as possible from 2020.” she said.
“CCTV shows that they will move around the transport network looking for women to target, most often during the commuter rush hours when the tube network is busiest,” she added.
TfL director of policing, Siwan Hayward, said to further prevent abusive behaviors, they have dedicated some 3,000 police and police community support officers to catching the attackers.