Sexual assault reports in London nightlife venues reached six-year high in 2021

Trigger warning: This article contains information relating to sexual assault and rape.

Reports of sexual assault and rape in London nightlife venues reached a six-year high in 2021, according to a new report by Time Out.

The report was put together by writer and previous DJ Mag contributor Chiara Wilkinson, after requesting information from the Metropolitan Police, with the high number of cases of sexual assault and rape coming despite most nightlife being closed for the first half of 2021. 

The Met’s statistics revealed that there were 207 reports of sexual assault between 1st January 1 and 31st October in 2021, and a further 29 reports of rape in London nightlife venues during that same period. Reports of rape and sexual assault in London venues are said to have increased by almost one-fifth since 2016, but it’s unknown whether this increase is due to a rise in reporting or prevalence.

The statistics around London’s nightlife venues reflect a national increase, with the Office for National Statistics finding that the number of rape offences in the year ending June 2021 was the highest ever recorded across the UK.

In Time Out’s report, Bryony Beynon, who co-founded the Good Night Out campaign to support women’s safety on nights out by encouraging staff training at venues, said: “It’s hard to say whether this is an increase in reporting, or an increase in prevalence. 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 stuff is in place, so they could be co-operating more to actually report things.”

Read the full report, which highlights a number of organisations that are working to make London nightlife safer, here.

In 2021, the Ask For Angela initiative, which aims to make nightlife safer for vulnerable people, was rolled out across London venues through staff training and a renewed campaign of awareness. The Change The Lineup poster campaign was also launched, with an aim to raise awareness of sexual harassment in clubs.

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