Research: More than 80% of women feel 'unsafe' in Teesside town centres after dark

The survey has covered Middlesbrough and other parts of the Cleveland Police area.

Most women in the Cleveland Police area feel unsafe in town centres after dark and more than a third have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape, according to a new study.

A survey carried out through the office of the area's Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner showed 47.6 per cent of respondents say they felt very unsafe with a further 33.6 per cent commenting that they felt fairly unsafe.

In addition, 35.5 per cent said they had experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape in Cleveland. Only 12 per cent of those had reported this to police.

This survey was carried out over three weeks from May 20 - June 11 following a government announcement of a new round of safer streets funding following the death of Sarah Everard. In total, 1,206 took part in the survey, which was limited to people who identify as female.

Stockton and Middlesbrough town centres were the most commonly mentioned locations where women felt usafe, followed by Redcar town centre, Hartlepool and Billingham.

The respondents said substance users and beggars were the main reason for them feeling unsafe. Some also said that "men from different cultures could sometimes make them feel uncomfortable by openly staring at them".

Other public places where many women felt unsafe included parks, cycle paths and some residential areas. Many felt unsafe while exercising - because of lewd comments they received - and walking their dogs.

Wolf whistling was the most commonly reporter form of harassment against women. Others included upskirting, revenge porn, indecent exposure, unwanted attention from drivers when out exercising, men refusing to leave women alone on nights out.

The women who took part in the survey were also asked what action was needed.

Most replied that better education should be a priority for young women "so they understand what acceptable behaviour looks like" and for young men "so they understand how to treat women and girls properly"and "how to challenge inappropriate behaviour in their peers".

Other ideas put forward included better street lighting, better door staff and more visible female officers on the beat.

The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness also carried out similar research. Durham Constabulary has also carried out research and is set to publish this within the next few weeks.

The full Cleveland Police survey can be read here.