Harassment of women on Redbridge streets going unreported

Redbridge women are not reporting widespread street harassment because they feel nothing will be done.

Nine out of ten women and girls surveyed in the borough said they have been cat called, followed, flashed or had their personal space invaded.

Almost none of these incidents are reported because of a “lack of confidence” that anything will be done, according to Redbridge’s women’s safety champion, councillor Saima Ahmed.

Cllr Saima Ahmed

Cllr Ahmed revealed the findings from a survey of 600 women and girls, during a presentation to the Strategy and Resources Committee last week (19th October).

She said: “We saw a lack of confidence that anything will be done when reporting street harassment.

“Some reported receiving a negative response, for example, they are told to take safety precautions rather than the perpetrator being told off or given a zero-tolerance approach when complaints are being made.”

Sixty five percent of women Cllr Ahmed heard from feel the risk to their safety is high or quite high when they are outside.

They said they felt least safe in Ilford High Road, Ilford station, Gants Hill station, Valentines Park and Ley Street Car Park, while Woodford, South Woodford and Wanstead were described as feeling safer.

“As part of regeneration work [in Ilford Town Centre] we already have LED lights and the lights are brighter, but we still need more to make sure it’s even more safe,” said Cllr Ahmed.

Women told her they want boys to be educated from a young age and to see men who harass women “held to account”.

Recommendations gathered by Cllr Ahmed will be passed on to Redbridge’s Community Crime Commission and taken to cabinet in January.


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter