Saturday 24 September 2016

Women-only train carriages suggested to combat sexual attacks

Published 26/08/2015 | 07:02

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Women-only train carriages could be introduced at night to guard against sexual attacks, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.

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The surprise favourite in the Labour leadership election spoke amid a climate of growing concern about sexual harassment on public transport.

Earlier this year Transport for London launched a campaign to encourage more reporting of sex crimes on the capital's Underground network.

Transport Minister Claire Perry last year indicated she was interested in exploring the idea of women-only carriages, which are in operation in Japan, India, Brazil and other countries.

Launching his street harassment policy, Mr Corbyn said: "Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women-only carriages.

"My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop, on the mode of transport itself.

"However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome - and also if piloting this at times and on modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest."

He went on: "The excellent work of individuals, campaigns, and groups like Everyday Sexism and Stop Street Harassment has highlighted just how prevalent street harassment is in our country today; and the extent to which many women feel uncomfortable, anxious, and unsafe just going about their daily routines.

"It is simply unacceptable that many women and girls adapt their daily lives in order to avoid being harassed on the street, public transport and in other public places from the park to the supermarket.

"This could include taking longer routes to work, having self-imposed curfews, or avoiding certain means of transport."

He spoke as it emerged that the leader of one of the country's biggest trade unions has had his vote in the Labour leadership election rejected.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, signed up for £3 as a registered supporter and voted by email for Mr Corbyn, but was told his vote had been blocked.

The PCS, which represents civil servants, is not affiliated to Labour and a party spokesman would not be drawn on Mr Serwotka's case but said it was barring anyone who does not share its values and aims, amid concerns about "infiltrators" in the contest.

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has insisted there will be no doubt about the "integrity" of the Labour leadership contest as it emerged that less than 1% of new supporters - around 3,100 people - have been blocked as infiltrators.

Senior Tory MP Sarah Wollaston criticised Mr Corbyn's plans for women-only carriages.

The Health Select Committee chair tweeted: "Segregating women on public transport doesn't protect anyone, it just normalises unacceptable attitudes". 

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