Transport sex crimes on the rise

More than 50 sex offences have been reported on public transport across the west in the past financial year.

Victoria Police statistics show there were 51 sexual offences reported on, or near, public transport in Wyndham, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Melton in the 2016-17 financial year.

The number is almost double the 28 sexual offences reported on public transport in the west in the 2015-16 financial year. Of the 51 reported offences, 32 incidents occurred on trains, at train stations and in station carparks.

The remaining offences happened on buses, at bus stops, in taxis, on trams and at tram stops, although Maribyrnong is the only municipality in the west which has trams.

Three weeks ago, Victoria Police and Crime Stoppers launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of sexual offences on public transport.

In that time, Crime Stoppers released photos of 10 offenders wanted in relation to sexual offences allegedly committed on Melbourne’s train, tram and bus system.

Transit safety division Inspector Karl Curran said sexual offences on public transport included people exposing or touching themselves inappropriately, people engaging in sexual acts in front of commuters and unwanted touching.

“People should be able to go about their daily business without being touched inappropriately by anybody. It is a crime,” he said.

Inspector Curran said police believed the incidences were under-reported, and that authorities urged all victims to report crimes they experienced.

“We’ll support them, we listen to what they have to say and we’ll do everything we possibly can to resolve this crime,” he said.

He said anyone experiencing, or witnessing, a sexual crime should contact triple-0. If you have been a victim contact triple-0, 1800 RESPECT or Report information to Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.