In an ATM kiosk in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha, there’s an ATM that isn’t an ATM. Instead, it’s a crime-reporting machine, through which users can scan or type an account of sexual assault or harassment without having to visit a police station. The kiosk opened last year, and police authorities in other cities and states are considering introducing something similar.
In Britain, meanwhile, we have our own problems with rape reporting. According to statistics from the six largest police forces, around 80 per cent of rapes in England and Wales went unreported in 2012 and 2013. Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, has said that “innovative solutions” are needed to encourage rape and sexual assault victims to come forward.
A report released this week by Conservative Greater London Authority member Andrew Boff claims to have a solution. He proposes using technology to make reporting easier and more anonymous, and his most striking suggestion comes in the form of – you guessed it – an ATM.
This, the report argues, would allow people to report offences with some degree of anonymity and under the guise of an everyday activity: after an an assault, particularly by someone known to the victim, people are often “left in a position where they are unable to visit a police station, or telephone the emergency services due to a fear of being overheard”.