Women's safety in public spaces
Women and girls can experience abuse by strangers in public spaces. This includes unwelcome remarks and gestures, being followed or attacked.
Public spaces are places that are open and accessible to the general public, such as:
- in and around public transportation
- public toilets
- water and food distribution sites
If you have experienced any unwelcome interaction, whether it was physically violent or not, remember it is not your fault. The fault always lies with the perpetrator.
| Organisation|| Support|| Contact|
| Victim Support
Victim Support helps anyone affected by crime.
You can talk to them whether or not you’ve reported the crime to the police. They can support you without the involvement of the criminal justice system.
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Tel: 0808 168 9111
Email Victim Support
| Victim Support East London support
The London Victim and Witness Service (LVWS) supports anyone who has been affected by crime in East London
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Tel: 0808 168 9291
Free live chat chat support service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
| The Havens
Specialist centres in London for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
Services provided include
- first aid,
- emergency contraception,
- practical advice,
- optional forensic medical examination,
- medical aftercare and
- specialist support such as counselling, psychology and advocacy.
All services are provided without clients having to report the assault or rape to the police.
Urgent advice and appointments available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Tel: 0203 299 6900
0203 299 1599 (non-urgent enquiries)
Haven Whitechapel, for professional enquiries
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Tel: 020 3299 6901
| London Survivors Gateway
|| Provide information on what help is available in London after rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence and offer support to access these services.They work with anyone aged 13 or above regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, language, ethnicity or immigration status.
Monday to Friday,10am to 4pm
Tel: 0808 801 0860
| Transport For London (TFL)
|| Report it, Stop it90% of unwanted sexual behaviour on London transport goes unreported. We want you to feel confident on your journey and know exactly where to turn if you need help.
If you experience anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can report by text or phone.
|The Muslim Community Helpline
||A confidential, non-judgemental listening and emotional support service.
Monday to Friday: 10 am to 1 pm
Mondays 1 pm to 3 pm
Fridays 1-4 pm
Tues: 5-6 pm
Dedicated one to one with male counsellor (call a mobile; pre-booking required which is done by emailing)
Tel: 0208 908 6715 or
0208 904 8193
If you see someone experiencing abuse, looking uncomfortable or fearful of someone else/a group of people, it can be extremely helpful if you:
- Say something to the perpetrator e.g.
- ‘Please stop that’,
- ‘that’s not funny, it’s offensive’ or
- ‘I can see you’re from xxx school, I’ll be reporting you to the Headteacher.’
- Tell someone else, e.g. a Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officer, the bar staff, the bus driver or your HR officer at work.
- Offer support to the victim or other bystanders, e.g.
- ask the victim if they are ok,
- would they like you to call someone, or
- would they like you to walk with them to a safe destination.
- Create a diversion so that the victim can escape the situation, e.g. asking the perpetrator for directions or if at work, ask the perpetrator about a piece of work you would like help with.
- Report the incident to our Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers, who can then target that public space to prevent repeat incidents.
- Report to police by calling 999 if an emergency, 101 if a non-emergency. If you prefer to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report it using their form.
Find out more about being a good bystander via the national #Enough Campaign.
Worried about your behaviour?
It’s never easy to admit when we’ve crossed a line or overstepped the mark. But if you can think of a situation when your behaviour has:
- controlled or coerced someone - be honest with yourself. It’s the first step to making a change for the better.
Abuse takes many forms:
- sexual and
Some people don not recognise the impact this behaviour can have on the person who experiences it, or that many of these behaviours could be criminal.
How you can change
- Put yourself in their place. How you would feel if this behaviour was being directed at you?
- Always treat women and girls as your equal.
- Accept that women and girls don’t appreciate acts you might not recognise as wrong, e.g. making sexually explicit comments towards them in the street. At best, it’s embarrassing, and at worst, it can be intimidating or frightening.
- Give women and girls space on the street, or on a train or bus. Women are often on constant alert in public spaces, so this can help them feel safer.
- Do not assume that you’re entitled to sex, you’re not. Having sex without consent is sexual assault or rape. Consent can only be given with a clear and enthusiastic ‘yes’. Anything else, including silence, is a ‘no’ that must be respected.
- Don’t think porn is how sex should be. Just as films are not real life, porn is not real sex. It often shows damaging behaviour towards women, without mutual consent or communication.
- Are your mates or family a bad influence? Don’t get drawn into abusive behaviour, just to be ‘one of the boys'.
- Bring your children up to be respectful of both men and women and see them as equal in society.
Get help with your behaviour
If you are concerned about your behaviour contact Respect
Tel: 0808 802 4040
Information taken from the national #Enough Campaign