According to a report by Time Out, reports of sexual assault in London clubs, pubs, bars, and music venues were at a six-year high in 2021. This alarming figure comes despite the fact that most clubs were either shut down in heavily restricted due to COVID-19 protocols.
Between January 1st and October 31st of 2021, London’s Metropolitan Police received 207 allegations of sexual assault and 29 reports of rape in nightlife establishments. Since 2016, reports have steadily climbed by about a fifth. It’s not clear if this represents an increase in instances of assault or an increase in reporting.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a U.K.-based governmental organization in charge of publishing various figures, the year up to June 2021 saw the highest number of rape offenses ever.
Bryony Benyon, the co-founder of Good Night Out, a public campaign aimed at training venue staff to properly react to assault, says the figures represent a mixture of reporting and prevalence. Speaking with Time Out, she said, “We have had a pause on nightlife for over a year, so people’s thresholds of what they’re willing to put up with may have shifted. Venues have been put under pressure to make sure that COVID-19 stuff is in place, so they could be co-operation more to actually report things.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual abuse, resources to get help can be found at RAINN.