Rape: How safe are London’s streets?

Amie Filcher (News Correspondent), Young London News

This weekend, a woman in her 20s was raped next to a derelict pub in Poplar.

According to the Office for National Statistics the number of reported rapes has increased by 29 per cent since last year and according to the Nia website 40 per cent of rape victims tell no one.

John Flatley, Head of crime statistics at the ONS told the BBC, “Victims are coming forward now to report recent occurrences rather than historical ones and it’s certainly the case the police are taking action to improve their recording and handling of rape investigations.”

There have been a number of rape stories circulating in the news recently. From celebrities such as Shia Le Beouf to revenge rape allegations.

Back in November thirteen men were convicted of systematic sexual abuse to girls as young as 13 in Bristol.

It is not just women who are victims of rape but men also. Even though the number of reported rapes from male victims is lower, they can still be victims of sexual assault. Nia doesn’t provide support for men, but offers a link to the Rape Crisis London website.

The Haven is another site with centres based around London. They advise victims to book an appointment online or phone in.

Taking a trip to the University of Westminster counselling office, it was surprising to find there was little to no information regarding how to report rape or sexual assault.

Young professionals moving to London may be vulnerable, especially if it is their first time away from home. Although a lot of information is freely available online, institutions, such as, universities don’t seem to provide as much.

The feminist society has been campaigning for a ‘say no’ seminar to be implemented at the university in February in order to raise awareness.

Sian Filcher, 18, works at Debenhams and often travels home late at night by herself when she finishes her shift. She says “I stay away from alleyways because you don’t know who could be there, and a lot of these stories you hear don’t happen on busy roads.”

Feature photo courtesy of Garry Knight 


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