Survey finds 90 per cent of women have been harassed

MORE than 90 per cent of female residents in Tunbridge Wells have experienced some form harassment in the town, a survey has found.

The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) survey was run this spring by the local branch of women’s movement Soroptimist International to coincide with International Women’s Day in March.

The report ‘Spotlight on Safety in Tunbridge Wells’ was published last week and the responses from 112 people, over 93 per cent female, largely confirmed results from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office survey in 2021, the authors acknowledged.

The report found that 104 respondents said they had experienced one or more crimes such as verbal harassment or intimidation, unwanted touching or groping, stalking, indecent exposure, physical violence, sexual assault and drink spiking.

Yet just 12 respondents had reported the crime in question.

There were 16 respondents who said they did not report the offence as they did not expect to be taken seriously by the police.

A further nine said the incidents were too frequent and/or low-level, and one expressed a fear of repercussions for reporting.

Specific measures to protect women and girls were suggested 111 times by respondents, most frequently more police presence (31 per cent), better lighting (27 per cent) and better education (14 per cent), particularly of men and boys.

Other suggestions included more CCTV, preferential taxi rates for women and more scrutiny of taxi drivers.

Soroptimist International said ‘in one sense, there are no surprises’ in the survey, but they added it provided ‘documentary evidence’ about views of the effectiveness of support services and ‘additional actions needed to keep women and girls safe in Tunbridge Wells’.

“The survey answers, map annotations and recommendations will be discussed at the November Town Forum meeting with the Community Safety Unit and Tunbridge Wells Police,” said local Soroptimist International president Caroline Auckland.


Walk arranged to ‘reclaim the night’

Following the Town Forum meeting on November 24, a Reclaim the Night walk is being organised by local journalist Jayne Sharratt, to visually demonstrate the numbers of people afraid to walk alone at night.

Taking place between The Common, Rusthall and The Pantiles, the walk on November 25 coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Those interested in participating in the Reclaim the Night walk can register at

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