97% of UK women have been sexually harassed - this is how to report it

97 per cent of young women reported being harassed (Photo: Shutterstock)
97 per cent of young women reported being harassed (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new survey from UN Women UK has revealed almost all young women in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

The survey also exposes a widespread lack of faith in UK authorities' ability and desire to deal with sexual harassment effectively.

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Of the women surveyed (over 1,000 in total) 97 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 said they had been sexually harassed, while 80 per cent of women across all age groups reported experiencing sexual harassment in public.

The survey also found 96 per cent of respondents didn't report incidents, with 45 per cent saying that reporting wouldn't change anything.

UN Women UK told the Guardian that some of those who said the event wasn't serious enough to report were groped, followed and coerced into sexual activity.

'This is a human rights crisis'

“This is a human rights crisis. It’s just not enough for us to keep saying: ‘This is too difficult a problem for us to solve’ – it needs addressing now,” said Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK.

“We are looking at a situation where younger women are constantly modifying their behaviour in an attempt to avoid being objectified or attacked, and older women are reporting serious concerns about personal safety if they ever leave the house in the dark - even during the daytime in winter.”

How to report sexual harassment or assault

If you are harassed, it is useful to try to keep a record of the day, time and details in case you later decide to report the incident.

If the incident takes place at work, it may be illegal and you should report to your manager or HR to take further action. You can also speak to the Equality Advisory and Support Service for independent advice.

If you believe yourself to be in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

In cases where sexual harassment is occurring and you feel uncomfortable or unsafe but you don't believe it to be an emergency, you can report to the police at 101 or contact your local police force.

Victim Support can also be contacted at 08 08 16 89 111 where an advisor will support you and offer advice on your experience.