Figures reveal number of sexual assaults committed on public transport in Suffolk

All of the alleged sexual assaults happened on buses in Suffolk.

All of the alleged sexual assaults happened on buses in Suffolk.

More needs to be done to empower women in Suffolk to come forward about sexual assaults, a campaigner has said.

This comes as new figures reveal Suffolk Constabulary has received just 12 reports of sexual assaults committed on public transport in the county since 2011.

Helen Taylor, founder of the Suffolk Feminist Society, said this number is likely to represent only around 10% of the assaults that actually occur.

The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, show that all bar two of the victims of the alleged sexual assaults were women, and eight were aged 18 or under. The seven suspects were all male.

Out of the 12 reports of assaults, all of which occurred on buses in Suffolk, only two resulted in police action against the offender. In 2012, Suffolk Constabulary received an allegation of rape on a bus in Claydon, but the action has been marked as “undetected”.

Mrs Taylor, who is a campaigner on domestic abuse and sexual violence, said: “People don’t come forward enough and it’s the same with other sexual offences, a very small percentage are reported and there are lots of reasons why, mostly around victim blaming.

“Quite often a young girl may get on a bus wearing a short skirt and she might think it’s her fault [if she gets sexually assaulted] and she may think she will be blamed if she reports it or she won’t be believed.”

Most Read

The issue came to light earlier this year when new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested the introduction of women-only carriages to tackle a rise in assault and harassment on public transport. The statement sparked back-lash from women’s groups, which claimed gender segregation puts the focus on victims rather than the perpetrators.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “Sexual assaults can occur anywhere, but are very rare on public transport as these figures demonstrate.

“We encourage victims of any sexual assault to continue to come forward and feel confident to do so, so that we can provide the specialist support they need.”

The spokesman added any allegation of sexual assault would be fully investigated.