Violence, abuse and aggression experienced by nearly two-thirds of commuters

In a recent Personal Safety Day poll, 62% of respondents said they have experienced violence, abuse, or aggression during their commute.

In a recent poll carried out by SoloProtect in recognition of Personal Safety Day, a staggering 62% of respondents said they have experienced violence, abuse, or aggression during their commute.

Furthermore, a survey by Suzy Lamplugh Trust found a whopping 88% of respondents had experienced unwanted violent, aggressive, or sexual behaviours on UK public transport in the past five years.

They found the most common behaviours were staring, sitting, or standing close to someone in an intimidating way, verbal abuse, refusal to cease an aggressive or intimidating conversation, and pressing up against someone.

Personal safety day

With many people now returning to the workplace following the lifting of COVID restrictions, once again, they will be faced with the violence, abuse and aggression that is far too evident in our poll and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust report.

But do employers have an obligation to ensure staff safety and wellbeing during their commute?

Does an employer’s duty of care extend to the commute?

Existing health and safety legislation states that an employer is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of staff in the workplace and in situations where the employee is acting in the course of their employment. In most cases, this does not apply to any risks faced while travelling to and from work.

However, facing violence, abuse, or aggression on the commute can have a detrimental impact on an employee’s wellbeing, their frame of mind when working, their perception of their role and the company they’re working for, and their ability to do their job well.

This is amplified by the fact that an employee’s commute often forms a very significant part of the working day. A 2019 report by the TUC found that commuters spend an average of 221 hours per year getting to and from work. That’s equivalent to over 9 days.

So even though employers aren’t legally obliged to ensure their staff get home safely, many see this as an important part of their staff wellbeing and retention strategies.

How can employers help to ensure their employees are safe during their commute to work?

Employers should open a consistent dialogue with employees about their commute and whether it’s reasonable and safe. Anyone who raises concerns can then receive the appropriate support. This could be advising on alternative methods of transport, discussing different start and finish times to avoid issues, facilitating a car share, or implementing a personal safety solution.

Employers should also communicate tips for a safe commute to their employees. Just reminding someone to stick to a well-lit route or to change train carriages if they feel uncomfortable may just help to prevent an incident from occurring.

Tips for a safe commute

As part of Personal Safety Day 2021, we’ve published some helpful tips for a safe commute, whether you walk, cycle, or travel by bus, train or car. We hope you will find this a useful tool to share with your teams >

Tips for a safe commute - find out more

We also cover how a SoloProtect safety solution can help to protect employees on their commute.

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