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Improper Sexual Conduct

Customer Assistance Intercom
Customer Assistance
Intercom


Help Point Intercom
Help Point Intercom
Across a 5,000 square mile service area of the greater metropolitan region, nearly eight million customers use the MTA’s network of buses, commuter rails and subways each day. Many people travel during peak hours and while personal space is often at a premium, crowding is no excuse for anyone to engage in improper sexual conduct. Each of us has the right to expect that our personal space will be respected, no matter our gender, sexual orientation, appearance, or choice of dress.

Whichever MTA service you rely on, your safety matters to us. In the event that you have been the victim of, or witness to, any crime, including a crime of a sexual nature, you should immediately report it to law enforcement, including NYPD and MTA Police Officers. If you have been the victim of, or a witness to, any form of improper sexual conduct, you should immediately report it to law enforcement or an MTA employee. You can also report crimes of a sexual nature and incidents of improper conduct by clicking here. Your report will be forwarded by MTA to law enforcement for investigation.

In the subway, you can also report an incident by using a Customer Assistance Intercom or Help Point Intercom (pictured at right), which will connect you directly with a staff person who can take your report and alert the NYPD.

What is Improper Sexual Conduct?

Harassment of someone because of that person's sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation is prohibited on the MTA bus, subway and commuter railroad network. Improper sexual conduct can take many forms and anyone can be a victim of it or witness it. It can include misconduct involving the actual or threatened use of physical contact or force, including rape, assault, unwanted touching, and other forms of physical sexual misconduct. At other times, however, improper sexual conduct does not involve physical contact or force. Some examples of improper sexual conduct that does not include physical contact or force are verbal harassment, threats, intimidation, and peeping into or under a person's clothing.

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Safety Tips

Don’t try to handle it on your own
The situation could escalate.

Do tell an MTA employee or a Police Officer
On the subway - You can also report an incident by using a Customer Service Intercom or Help Point device, which will connect you to a staff person who can take your report and alert law enforcement. You can also report the incident online here.

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Reducing Risk

Minimizing risk does not prevent improper sexual conduct but it can help you to feel safe and reduce the opportunity for a perpetrator to harass.

  • Follow your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person or situation, remove yourself immediately from the area.

  • If you think you are being touched, but are not sure - assume you ARE being touched, and move.

  • During non-rush hours, wait for transportation in the designated waiting areas.

  • If you are alone, avoid empty areas.

  • Use subway exits where there is the most activity. That's usually the 24-hour entrance.

  • Become knowledgeable about the neighborhood around your station or stop; know which stores, restaurants, and businesses are open late at night.

  • Remain alert and aware of your surroundings.

  • If you have ear buds in, keep the volume down on your music so you can hear the surrounding sounds.

  • If someone suspicious is behind or ahead of you, avoid that person by walking away or taking a different route where more people are visible

  • Avoid dark doorways, and other places of concealment.

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If you are the Victim of Improper Sexual Conduct or a Witness to such Misconduct

  • Take note of as many details as possible to help law enforcement with its investigation. If it is possible, and only if it is not dangerous, take a picture or video

  • Always know your location. It is most helpful if you have the exact location (including the train car number that the incident occurred on) if you call 911.

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How to Intervene Safely

You can make our public transportation system safer one action at a time, but too often people feel helpless when they witness improper sexual conduct . Here are a few things you can do to intervene, safely. Be very careful and only intervene if you think that it is safe. Every situation is different. Some things you may consider are:

  • During the act of sexual misconduct, look for someone who might assist (a police officer, MTA employee, store owner, etc.) and call 911.

  • Ask the person who appears to be the victim if they are OK, and if there is anything you can do to help. If there is, help them out.

  • Offer to escort the individual to the police station or another safe location.

  • Contact the police to report the sexual misconduct. If you witness a sexual assault and it is not safe to intervene, call 911 immediately. You do not have to give your name when you call 911. If you wish to remain anonymous or keep information confidential, tell the operator.

  • Share or utilize the resources below.

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Resources

NYPD Transit Bureau
Subway and Bus
For emergencies/victims of rape: dial 911

MTA Police
L.I.R.R and Metro-North Railroad
212-878-1001

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) or visit: www.rainn.org

New York City Anti-Violence Project Hotline
Serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and HIV-affected individuals
212-714-1141. To report an incident online, visit: www.avp.org

Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline
212-227-3000 or TDD 866-604-5350

New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault
212-229-0345 (ENGLISH)
To access online directory of victim services, visit: www.svfreenyc.org

Westchester Community Opportunity Program
914-592-5600

Center For Safety & Change, Inc. (Rockland County)
845-634-3391

The Center for Family Justice E. Fairfield County Inc. Rape Crisis Services
(Bridgeport, CT)

Hotline: 203-334-6154

The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education
(Stamford, CT )

Hotline: 203-329-2929

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk
Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center
631-360-3730 Office
631-360-3606 Hot Line

The Safe Center LI, Inc.
516-465-4700 Office
516-542-0404 Hot Line

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