When Elizabeth* was 14, a man on the tube, pinched her bum, then walked on in a hurry to a different compartment. “I was shocked and didn’t know how to react,” Elizabeth, now 25, told JMR solicitors.
Elizabeth is a victim of sexual assault on public transport. She didn’t report it to the police because she was left scared and confused. And she isn’t a unique case.
Whether on trains, tubes or buses, sexual assault is extremely common: offences range from making crude comments, taking pictures, and rubbing the crotch on another person to rape.
The Independent reported that, 70 per cent of the offences reported to the British Transport Police are sexual assaults on women, 20 per cent are ‘outraging public decency’ (masturbation), six per cent exposure and two per cent sexual assault on men.
Sexual assault claims
Although many cases still go unreported, there are an increase in the number of people coming forward to report the crime of sexual assault on public transport. The police are taking these cases more seriously. People were reluctant to report sexual harassment and sexual assaults because they thought the police would not investigate the incidents thoroughly enough for the assailant to be convicted. However maybe due to high profile cases, such as Taylor Swift’s claim against DJ David Mueller in 2017, these incidents are taken much more seriously.
Being sexually assaulted – in whatever form that might be – can leave a person distressed, violated, defenceless, shocked, scared, livid, and confused.
Most people don’t know how to react when they have been assaulted in such a public place such as a tube or train, and the chances are that even if you think you know what you’d do in such a situation, in the real-life moment you might freeze and react completely differently.
But what should you do?
It’s not straight-forward to give broad advice that covers every situation on how you should act, but the best thing to do instantly is to move away and create as much distance as you can between you and the assailant.
Report the sexual assault to the Transport Police
Once you’re off the train, tube or bus, it’s important that you report what happened as quickly as possible to the British Transport police, whether that’s by texting (61016), phoning (0800 40 50 40) or telling an officer in person.
Once you report an assault, it’s up to the victim whether they want the police to investigate further.
I have been sexually assaulted on public transport, can I claim compensation?
The incident must be reported to the police and if possible, there must be witnesses. Examples of sexual assault on public transport cases which have been prosecuted include sexual assault waiting for a tram, getting on a bus, and in the workplace. Once it has been reported and the British Transport Police investigate, they will pass the case over to the CPS to prosecute, which is when you should be able to claim.
How do I go about claiming for compensation for sexual groping on public transport?
JMR Solicitor’s criminal injuries compensation solicitors will discuss with you whether there is enough evidence for you to bring forward a successful claim. We offer a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your options, where you are only eligible to pay a £10 booking fee to reserve your slot. Once you have spoken to our solicitors, you can decide if you would like their help bringing the claim.
How much compensation will I receive for public transport sexual assault?
These sexual offences are generally awarded between £1000 and £3000 depending on certain circumstances which we can discuss with you further. Of course, no amount of compensation can make you feel better and we understand that. However, you may use the money as you wish, and if you feel it would help you could get support, counselling or therapy to help you in the future with the money.
How long will it take for me to receive compensation?
These cases range in time frames from getting your compensation within two months, to going on for several years. Whilst this might not be a comforting thought, the average time reported for CICA claims is around 1 year.
Do I need to wait for the Court Case?
To claim compensation for public transport sexual assault, you don’t need to wait until the court case is over. A claim must be brought forward within 2 years of the sexual assault happening, so sometimes cases can be delayed, which can mean you may lose out on the compensation owed. When you are made aware the CPS are prosecuting you should commence your claim.
Contact JMR Solicitors for compensation matters relating to public transport sexual assault
To discuss this sensitive matter with an empathetic and professional solicitor, contact us for a no obligation free consultation. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 491 3933.
*Names have been changed to protect identity