Tuesday, 17 September 2013

VIFM reports on assaults on young women using taxis

taxi 125Research by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has found that over the last three years there have been 25 reported cases of women between the ages of 17 and 39 who have been sexually abused by taxi drivers after hailing taxis home from night clubs and parties.  

And this could be just the tip of the iceberg, according to Dr David Wells, recently retired Head of Clinical Forensic Medicine at VIFM. He believes that the actual number of sexual abuse cases officially recorded significantly under-represents the extent of the problem, with many victims reluctant to come forward.  The majority of incidents occurred in the early hours of Saturday or Sunday mornings when most of the victims were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Two of the victims were intellectually disabled.

In an interview with John Sylvester (The Age),  Dr Wells said that some drivers claimed that the sex was consensual and had been offered in lieu of a taxi fare.   Dr Wells said that he had spoken to a number of women who told him that taxi drivers had offered them money for sex, or had touched them inappropriately.  He called for all taxi industry employment agreements to ban drivers from having sex with passengers, with instant dismissal for any breaches of the rule.

“We have quite rightly drummed into people that they should not drink and drive, but the by-product is that we are herding some into the pathway of predatory behaviour,'' he said.  “Women are entitled to know they are safe in all forms of public transport.”

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