One in two women feel unsafe walking alone after dark in a quiet street near their home, according to a new ONS survey.
An even greater number – four in five – feel unsafe walking alone after dark in a park or open space. By contrast, just one in seven men said they feel unsafe walking alone after dark in a quiet street near their home.
The survey also confirms the unacceptable prevalence of street harassment faced by young women in particular in England and Wales. Two in three women aged 16 to 34 said they had experienced at least one form of street harassment in the previous 12 months.
Meanwhile, 44% of women in this age group said they had experienced catcalls, whistles or unwanted sexual comments and jokes. Nearly three in ten said they had felt like they were being followed.
Responding to the results, Nick Stripe of the Office for National Statistics said: “This is the first time the ONS has asked people about feelings of personal safety when walking alone in different public settings. We explored how those feelings are influenced by personal experience of harassment and if they affected behaviours.
“There are some clear findings: men and women both feel less safe after dark, but the extent to which women feel unsafe is significantly greater. Disabled people, too, are more likely to feel unsafe, even in the daytime in busy public places.”
Children’s charity Plan UK is spearheading a campaign to make public street harassment a crime, which you can support by signing an online petition.
It was reported in July that the government could be planning to make public street harassment a crime in England and Wales, but disappointingly, it has yet to confirm when or how these plans are likely to come to fruition.
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