Quarter of Britons believe cat-calling should be made a criminal offence

·2-min read
The poll revealed that over two-thirds of young women say they have been subjected to street harassment. (Getty Images)
The poll revealed that over two-thirds of young women said they had been subjected to street harassment. (Getty Images)

Almost a quarter of Britons support cat-calling being made a criminal offence, according to a survey.

This support rises to nearly 40% among women aged 18 to 39, the YouGov poll of almost 3,400 people found.

It comes after Priti Patel indicated in July that street harassment could be criminalised.

The survey, reported in the Sunday Telegraph, found that 69% of respondents felt that the act of directing sexually graphic or lewd comments at people in public should be criminalised.

It also discovered that 64% believed that it should be a criminal offence to take a photo of someone without their consent.

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Similarly, 60% thought that invading personal space, blocking someone's way, or being harassed for your name or number should likewise be criminalised.

The poll also found that 69% of young women aged 18 to 39 have experienced street harassment, constituting unwanted sexualised comments, gestures or acts.

It revealed that 66% of this age group had been cat-called – compared to 54% of 30 to 39-year-olds and 43% of 40 to 49-year-olds.

As a whole, over 70% of women aged 18 to over 60 had been wolf-whistled.

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In March, following the death of Sarah Everard, the Home Office said it was considering making sexual harassment in the street a criminal offence and, in July, home secretary Patel indicated that it could become a specific crime – although it has not yet been announced for certain if it would become legislation.

Earlier this year, research found that women who are both young and "conventionally attractive" are more likely to be believed when making accusations of sexual assault.

The study found that the general public perceived that women who fit this feminine prototype are more likely to be harassed.

Therefore, those who don't may face barriers when trying to convince an employer or a court that they have been targeted, because they are considered less credible.

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