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75% of UK women 'have experienced violence or harassment in cities'

19th May 2016

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Three quarters of women in the UK have experienced violence or harassment in cities, new research suggests.

75% of women had been subject to violence in urban areas, the study conducted by YouGov on behalf of Actionaid, found.

The researchers found 23% of UK women had been groped in public, and a third (36%) felt at risk when travelling on public transport.

Three in seven women (43%) said they felt at risk of harassment on city streets.

Woman crosses street
(Robert F. Bukaty/AP/PA)

The proportion of women in other parts of the world who had experienced urban violence was even higher.

In Thailand and Brazil, 86% of women said they had been subjected to harassment or violence in public.

The poll was commissioned to mark the launch of the charity’s International Safe Cities for Women Day, which takes place on 20th May.

Sarah Carson, ActionAid’s women’s rights campaign manager, said the research highlighted a “global epidemic”.

She added: “Every day women around the world face groping, unwanted touching and many other forms of harassment on the streets of their cities.

“But behind every statistic are real women. Women who have been raped in their homes in the slums of Delhi, women in Brazil who fear the drug traffickers who dominate and control their neighbourhoods, and garment workers in Cambodia and Thailand who are abused and harassed in and around their workplace.

“It is appalling and unacceptable that this is happening in cities around the world.”

Women's rights protest Brazil
(Eraldo Peres/AP/PA)

The charity is campaigning for the Government to increase the proportion of aid going to women’s groups working on the frontline in poor communities.

ActionAid is asking for £70 million over the next three years to be committed to the existing aid budget so “no matter who she is or where she lives, no woman has to live in fear of violence or harassment in her city”.

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