Just three per cent of students have reported an unwanted sexual experience to gardaí

A survey by the Union of Students Ireland (USI) launched today shows that 16 per cent of students have been subjected to an unwanted sexual experience while in third level education.

The figure is higher for girls – 20 per cent have had an unwanted sexual experience and 11 per cent have suffered unwanted sexual contact.

The USI launches its Say Something research today. It surveyed 2,750 students and discovered that only three per cent have reported an unwanted sexual incident to the gardai.

The study also shows that LGBT students are more likely to experience unwanted sexual encounters.

“USI decided to conduct this study because there was a lack of research on this area,” USI Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship Laura Harmon said. “We hope that the results will help this area and inform future campaigns in relation to student’s experiences of violence, including physical violence, sexual violence, harassment, stalking and obsessive behaviour.”

USI hopes that the study will get people talking about these issues in student circles.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said that the group welcomes “the proposed national campaign to raise the awareness of the issues and of the supports available to students” and said that “there is still a big gap in how we educate young people about sex, relationships and the responsible use of alcohol.”

The survey also found:
  • Acquaintances were identified as the perpetrators by most victims

  • 11 per cent of women were victims of unwanted sexual contact, and three out of 10 experienced comments with a sexual overtone that made them feel uncomfortable

  • Over 10 per cent of men and eight percent of women have had photographs or videos circulated online without their consent.

  • Lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students accounted for just 14.72 per cent of respondents, but were more likely to have been the victims of physical violence, obsessive behaviour, or unwanted sexual experiences.

For support and information related to rape and sexual violence, contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on its national 24-hour helpline: 01 800 778 888

For more information on sexual violence, including help on how to approach An Garda Siochána, click here.