Report sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is not tolerated on our network. We want everyone to report it. By doing so, you help us to make the transport network safer for everyone.
How to report sexual harassment
If you experience or witness sexual harassment on public transport:
- Report an incident on the bus network at www.met.police.uk
- For all other TfL services, text British Transport Police on 61016, call 0800 40 50 40 or report online at www.btp.police.uk
- Download the British Transport Police app Railway Guardian from the App Store or Google Play Store. The app also contains safe travel guides and advice
- In an emergency, always dial 999
What to report
We know that sometimes people may not report an incident because they think it isn't serious enough or won't be taken seriously. But if someone's behaviour has made you uncomfortable, it's serious to us. Even if you think it may not be a crime, we want to hear about it.
These are some of the things people can report:
- Making unsolicited sexual gestures or comments of a sexual nature (catcalling)
- Intrusive or persistent questioning of a sexual nature
- Following you
- Watching pornography or other explicit content in public areas
- Flashing/exposure of intimate body parts
- Cyberflashing (sending or showing explicit material by phone)
- Upskirting (taking photos under another person's clothing)
- Frottage (pressing or rubbing against people)
- Sexual assault (non-consensual touching)
Once you've reported and the police have decided it is a crime, an assigned police officer will help you through the process. Find out more about what happens next.
Why reporting helps
The reporting of incidents leads to a safer network for all.
It helps TfL and the police know where and when the incidents are occurring so we can put measures in place to prevent it. Reporting incidents also means that they can be investigated by the police and that offenders can be identified and caught.
Many people who commit offences and sexually harass others on public transport are repeat offenders. Your report helps the police identify them and take action against them. This could be lead to offenders being prosecuted and can help stop this happening to others.
Even if you can only provide a small piece of information, the police can use it with other information, such as other reports, witnesses and CCTV evidence to identify them.
TfL staff are there to support our customers. They know what to do to support people who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment on our network. They can help you report it to the police if that is what you want to do.
Bystanders: what to do if you witness harassment
These are ways in which you can help if you witness someone being harassed or made to feel uncomfortable on the transport network.
You don't need to have been targeted yourself to report it to a member of staff or to the police
Reporting is important but there are other things you can do to support fellow passengers. We encourage people to look out for and support one another if something doesn't feel right.
Ways to support a fellow passenger who is being harassed, if it is safe to do so:
- Distract with a question
If you feel confident and safe to do so, you could speak to the person being targeted, ignoring the perpetrator. Asking a small question such as 'do you have the time?' or 'what's the next stop?', can provide a distraction and help to defuse the situation.
- Document and report what you see
Make a note of what is happening, where you are (what line, station, bus number or tube/train carriage number), what time it is, what the perpetrator looks like, what they're wearing and any other important details. Reporting what you witness helps with the investigation and can stop it happening to someone else. Use these details to report what's happened. For Tube and rail, text British Transport Police on 61016 or using the Guardian Railway app. On buses call the Metropolitan Police on 101 or online at met.police.uk
- Make sure they're okay
Following an incident, checking in with the person who has been targeted is a powerful thing to do. Assure them that what happened isn't okay, see if there's anything you can do to help and let them know that you will report the incident too. This can make them feel less isolated and more confident to report it themselves.
You can also:
- Ask the person targeted if they are ok
- Speak to a member of TfL staff for help.
Directly challenging the offender about their behaviour is risky and you need to assess the situation very carefully before speaking up. Avoid putting yourself in harm's way. The interventions above can be a more effective and safer way to help.
Government research shows 84% of women and 60% of men in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. If you have been affected, you can get help from these organisations.
London Victim and Witness Service
If you have experienced or witnessed a crime on our transport network in London you can access support from the London Victim and Witness Service (LVWS). The LVWS is the main 'front door' for victim/witness referrals in London. The service provides support for adult victims and witnesses of crime.
24hr support line: 0808 1689 291
London Survivors Gateway
The gateway provides a single point of contact for survivors of sexual violence, their families and agencies.
Phone: 0808 801 0860
- Rape Crisis England and Wales
- Survivors UK
- The Survivors Trust
- Galop (LGBT+)
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust
- Solace Women's Aid
Find your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre on the NHS website.