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Sex outdoors: the truth about what you CAN and CANNOT do around Crawley despite council leaders objections

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Despite the lockdown rules not allowing for two or more people to get together from different households for a bit of ‘rumpy pumpy’ inside, the same rules do not apply outdoors – BUT the advice is that you should still be keeping a distance of 2 metres away from people who are not in your household.

So sex with someone NOT in your household is basically off the books for the time being altogether.

But what about when the rules change? What if you want to go and have some fun outdoors for example, is that even allowed?

The simple answer, which may not be popular to some, is yes but there are caveates.

There is no specific law that stops someone from having sex outdoors but there are laws about public decency and in particular Outraging Public Decency.

If a couple were to engage in some adult fun within a public park, but ensured they were well hidden and not able to be seen, then there is no specific law preventing them from doing this. This is because to cause a public indecency offence the people involved would have to be intentionally exposing themselves and not being seen by accident.

Of course, if they were discovered by someone they would have to immediately stop and if they were found by a police officer then they would probably be moved on. BUT potentially no law would have been broken.

This changes in regard to public toilets where this is a specific law about engaging in sex. This is against the law and you could find yourself in magistrates court if you were caught with either a fine or up to 6 months in prison.

BUT if the same couple were seen by two or more people they could be committing the offence of Outraging Public Decency – where it is an offence to commit an act of lewd, obscene and disgusting nature, which is capable of outraging public decency in a public place and where at least two or more members of the public who were present at the time could have seen it.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said:

“We would advise people to follow the current coronavirus guidance from the government.

Outside of that guidance if anyone was found to be committing an offence of outraging public decency they could face prosecution.”

At this time of lockdown, despite the rules beginning to relax, there is still a need to maintain a 2 metre distance from people not in your household and police do have the ability to fine people who do not obey the rules (although technically not about keeping the 2 metre distance) starting with a £100 fine (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days).

But Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb is certainly against anyone having sex in any of the towns parks saying:

“People should not be having sex in public parks. There is a risk of vulnerable adults or children being exposed to their activity. I would hope the law on this would change in the near future.”

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Southern Rail joins train companies extending free train travel for survivors of domestic abuse

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Govia Thameslink Railway is supporting an extended nationwide initiative to help domestic abuse victims reach refuge accommodation by offering free train travel.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s Chief Operating Officer Steve White said:

“With the numbers of survivors of domestic abuse soaring during the pandemic, charities are expecting a surge in people trying to escape to a refuge when lockdown restrictions relax. Abusers frequently withhold money, which is why the free train travel we offer as an industry is so vitally important for the hundreds of victims making use of this scheme.”

Southern Rail and its parent company Govia Thameslink are joining other train companies in extending free train travel for survivors of domestic abuse until the end of March next year.

The move comes as figures show four survivors a day, on average, have been using the scheme and reports show that abuse has worsened during coronavirus restrictions.  

Charities are bracing themselves for a surge in people fleeing abusive relationships when restrictions are lifted. The extension will help hundreds more people to take the train, for free, to reach a safe refuge.  

Rail to refuge is a joint initiative between rail companies and Women’s Aid in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children travelling to refuge accommodation. Since April, train operators have provided free tickets to 836 people, including 210 children. In other words, four survivors have travelled to safety each day on average using the Rail to refuge scheme. 

First introduced by Southeastern in September 2019 and then GWR on its routes in March 2020, all train operators joined the Rail to refuge scheme on 9 April with the original plan to keep it in place for approximately 12 weeks or for the duration of lockdown.  

However, with refuges expecting a spike in demand after the current national restrictions are eased, the scheme is now being extended for the rest of the financial year until the end of March 2021. This means hundreds more survivors will access free travel. 

The number of survivors of domestic abuse asking for help has soared during the pandemic. Women’s Aid reported a 41% increase in users visiting its instant messaging Live Chat site within the first two weeks of lockdown in March and as a result extended its opening hours to 10am – 4pm daily. Respect, which runs the Men’s Advice Line, has increased service hours from 46 to 75 hours weekly to support male victims, after seeing a huge increase in demand since March. 

Refuges expect to see the increase in demand across their services continue in the coming months as domestic abuse is worsening and abusers are using the pandemic as a tool for abuse. A recent Women’s Aid survey shows 61% of survivors living with their abuser reported that abuse worsened from March – June 2020, under tighter coronavirus restrictions.  

Many survivors have experienced years of economic abuse, which restricts their practical ability to escape. Free travel can be a lifeline for people fleeing abuse who may not have access to cash. Two-thirds (63%) of people that booked a journey through Rail to refuge said they would not have travelled if the journey had not been paid for. 

Nicki Norman, acting Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said: 

Women face huge barriers in leaving an abuser. Notonly is it an extremely dangerous time, but many survivors have experienced years of economic abuse, which restricts their practical ability to escape. Women tell us that they simply cannot afford to leave because the perpetrator has controlled their money and they have none of their own. Many women and children escape to a refuge with nothing at all.  

Thanks to the rail industry removing the financial barriers of travel, hundreds of women have left abusive relationships and been able to access safety. It is welcome news that this important initiative is being extended, especially as the COVID 19 pandemic continues to severely impact survivors of domestic abuse.” 

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Operating Officer at the Rail Delivery Group, said: 

“We’re proud to have provided a vital lifeline for almost a thousand people escaping a desperate situation, but there are still too many women, men and children that need help. Our staff are working hard to support the survivors of domestic abuse with free train journeys while keeping the railway running for all the people, communities and local economies that rely on it.” 

Survivors of domestic abuse who would like to access the scheme, or need other support, can get in touch with Women’s Aid through their Live Chat service, open Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 12:00pm: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk 

If you would like to contribute to help survivors access the lifesaving support they need and help them reach refuge, please make a donation today: www.womensaid.org.uk/rail-to-refuge (link goes live on 23 November 2020, 00.01).

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