<p>Around half of women feel unsafe walking alone after dark, whether it is in a busy public space or in a quiet street near their home, says the Office for National Statistics</p>

Around half of women feel unsafe walking alone after dark, whether it is in a busy public space or in a quiet street near their home, says the Office for National Statistics

Half of women feel unsafe walking alone after dark, says ONS

New survey shows fewer than a fifth of men feel the same way when walking alone at night

Kate Ng
Tuesday 24 August 2021 12:37
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New figures reveal that around half of women do not feel safe walking alone after dark, whether they’re in a busy public space or on a quiet street near their home.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around 49 per cent of women reported feeling unsafe walking alone after nightfall in a busy public place, such as a high street or railway station.

The same proportion of women also felt unsafe walking alone on a quiet street near their home at night.

In comparison, one in five men (19 per cent) said they felt unsafe when walking alone in a busy public area after dark. This falls to 15 per cent among men walking alone on a quiet street near where they live.

The survey of 16,112 people aged 16 and over in the UK marks the first time the ONS has asked about people’s perceptions of safety while walking alone in various public settings. It ran in four waves between 2 to 27 June.

The ONS also found that four out of five women (81 per cent) and 39 per cent of men felt unsafe walking along in the dark in parks or other open spaces.

Disabled people felt less safe walking alone in all settings, whilst those who had experienced harassment in the last year were more likely to feel unsafe.

Around a third (32 per cent) of women and 19 per cent of men reported they had experienced at least one form of harassment in the past 12 months.

About 63 per cent of people who reported feeling unsafe during the day said they had changed their behaviour in the previous month, with this figure increasing to 42 per cent for those who felt unsafe after dark.

Actions they took including stopping leaving home alone, walking in quiet places, and going to streets or areas they think are risky.

Nick Stripe, head of the ONS crime statistics branch, said: “This is the first time the ONS has asked people about feelings of personal safety when walking alone in different public settings.

“We explored how those feelings are influenced by personal experience of harassment and if they affected behaviours.

“There are some clear findings: men and women both feel less safe after dark, but the extent to which women feel unsafe is significantly greater.

“Disabled people, too, are more likely to feel unsafe, even in the daytime in busy public places.”

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