FOI request detail

The number of cases about "intrusive staring" on TFL services since October 2020.

Request ID: FOI-2577-2223
Date published: 24 January 2023

You asked

In October 2021, TFL launched its latest campaign to tackle sexual harassment on public transport. I would like to know the number of cases about/related to "intrusive staring" since October 2020 (one year prior to the latest campaign) up until the most recent time available to collect data on. I would like the data in an excel spreadsheet and for it to be split into: Date and time of case, gender of victim, age of victim, area in London, TFL service type (bus/tube/overground). For 'TFL service type', I would like to know which underground line the incident occurred on and which bus route or overground route. Thank you so much.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-2577-2223

Thank you for your request received on 13 January 2023 asking for information about our “intrusive staring” campaign.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.
We do not hold the requested information. The British Transport Police (BTP) may be able to provide you with the requested figures and can be contacted directly via their website:

Transport for London (TfL), in partnership with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), BTP, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and women’s safety groups, launched the campaign to tackle sexual harassment on the transport network in October 2021. The campaign highlights various forms of unwanted sexual behaviour that can take place on public transport and aims to send a strong message to offenders that sexual harassment is not tolerated on TfL’s services. The campaign was informed by research, including focus groups, and the expertise of violence against women and girls (VAWG) campaign groups and the policing sector.

By raising awareness of these issues, TfL hopes to encourage Londoners to look out for and support each other, and to engage bystanders to speak up so that perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions. This could involve people learning to recognise the signs of sexual harassment, providing support to the person who is being harassed or reporting the incident.
Sexual harassment does not only affect those who are directly targeted - it can affect how safe all women and girls feel when travelling. A Centre for London survey from 2019 found that women were nearly twice as likely as men to mention personal safety as a barrier to walking and using public transport. Research also shows that nearly half of those who experience sexual harassment do not tell anyone. The campaign encourages customers and staff who experience or witness this behaviour to report it, which helps TfL and the police to put the right interventions in place to stop it happening again and bring offenders to justice.  
The campaign builds on efforts by TfL and police to tackle unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport through Project Guardian and the award-winning Report it to Stop it communications campaigns - both of which aimed to improve reporting levels and to create an environment on the network that does not tolerate intimidation and sexual harassment. The new campaign posters form part of a joined-up national approach to addressing sexual harassment, featuring a consistent message across TfL's network and the national rail network. The campaign also includes magazine and newspaper advertising, editorial partnerships, and other communications. The materials, which appear on buses and trains and at stops and stations, help educate passengers about how to report incidents, encouraging them to do so wherever possible on the bus network at or, for all other TfL services, to text the British Transport Police on 61016. Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers, and should always call 999 in an emergency.
The ‘staring’ poster deals with intrusive staring of a sexual nature which is done to intimidate women and girls. It is behaviour that makes women and girls feel particularly uncomfortable and unsafe. Research commissioned by TfL, and by the RDG, shows intrusive staring in a sexual, inappropriate manner is one of the most common types of unwanted sexual behaviour experienced mainly, but not exclusively, by women travelling on public transport.

More information regarding the campaign can be found on our website:

Staring at someone in an intrusive sexual way is a form of sexual harassment. TfL, the RDG, and the police want to send a clear message that this, and other types of unwanted sexual behaviour, is not tolerated on public transport. This is not about criminalising people for staring. Anyone on the receiving end of this form of sexual harassment knows the difference. We are encouraging customers who are experiencing this, and being made to feel uncomfortable, to report it.

Once reported, it is for the police to investigate and determine if an offence has been committed. For staring in a sexual and intrusive manner, this would typically be investigated as a public order or byelaw offence where there is enough evidence. Where there isn’t enough evidence to investigate or bring charges against an offender, the reports still provide valuable intelligence for the police and TfL about sexual harassment on the network.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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