A report from the Paris Police Prefecture has revealed that sexual assaults increased by 30 percent in 2018 on the city’s public transport system, with over 1,000 cases reported.
In total, 1,159 sexual assaults were reported for the year on the city’s buses, metro, RER train, and other forms of travel across the Ile-de-France region which includes both Paris and the heavily migrant populated suburbs of the city, France 3 reports.
More than half of the complaints occurred in Paris proper, according to the report, but some argue that the number is even larger than the official statistics show.
Laurent Nuñez, Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior, explained in the wake of the release of the report that only ten percent of women subjected to sexual aggression actually report their experience to the police.
Surveys, such as the INED 2015 Virage survey, have shown that nearly half of the violence against women, 43 percent, occurs on public transport in the Ile-de-France region with another 40 percent taking place on the street.
Over half of women in a Paris Region Planning and Development Agency (IAU) study claimed that they were afraid to use public transport in the city due to fears of sex attacks and thefts.
Last year, a plainclothes police officer who works on the Paris metro system admitted that the majority of the arrests for sex attacks he had made were of migrant men from North African backgrounds.
“For more than ten years that I have done this job, the suspects I have arrested are a very, very large majority from a North African origin,” he said and noted he had arrested men across the age spectrum from 12 to 86.
As a result, some have taken to various means to help women avoid being victims of sexual or physical violence including a chaperone-matching app to pair travellers with someone to accompany them on their trips on public transit or on the street.
Creator of the app Fabien Boyaval said he came up with the idea after one of his friends had been assaulted in the street.