Woman harassed on way home from work campaigns for Swindon underpass to open at night

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report

A woman who was harassed on her way home from work late at night is campaigning for an underpass to remain open - and be well-lit - 24 hours a day.

When Bristol Street underpass in Swindon is closed at night, it means Rachel Kirk has to take a longer route home from work.

But while doing that detour one evening, she was harassed by a man.

“I was walking home from work and a chap was following me home and he was talking to me. He put his arm around me, and ever since I feel more on edge,” she told ITV News.

Rachel is now campaigning for Swindon Borough Council to keep the underpass open at all times to make women feel safer.

A petition she started has been signed by more than 200 people.

Rachel Kirk's petition had hundreds of signatures. Credit: ITV West Country

She said she feels "much safer" if the route she is working is well lit and would rather use the underpass as there is CCTV.

“On the long walk round there's no CCTV - it's dark and dingy," she said.

The Bristol Street underpass in Swindon has limited opening hours, closing at 9pm or earlier.

Bristol Street underpass in Swindon Credit: ITV West Country

Rachel says these hours do not work for shift workers or people who are out at night. 

She said: "We shouldn't have to resort to a taxi to get home to feel safe, we should be able to walk the streets and feel safe any time."

Swindon Borough Council says it regularly reviews the opening hours of the underpass.

It says it is an area that has been highlighted as needing improvement to lighting and if those improvements go ahead they will take place in March.