Half of Irish women say they have experienced sexual violence, survey reveals

Half Of Irish Women Say They Have Experienced Sexual Violence, Survey Reveals
One in 10 women experienced non-consensual sexual intercourse as an adult when they were unable to give consent, a survey shows. Photo: PA
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

More than half of women in the Republic have reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO’s Sexual Violence Survey found that 40 per cent of adults experience sexual violence in their lifetime, with women experiencing higher levels (52 per cent) than men (28 per cent).


Younger people reported higher levels of sexual violence than older people, with 22 per cent of those aged 18-24 experiencing sexual violence both as an adult and as a child compared with 8 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Four times more women (21 per cent) than men (5 per cent) reported experiencing non-consensual sexual intercourse over their lifetime.



One in 10 women experienced non-consensual sexual intercourse as an adult when they were unable to give consent.

Almost one in five (17 per cent) men aged 25-34 experienced non-consensual sexual touching as an adult.

One in five adults experienced unwanted contact sexual violence as a child (20 per cent) and a similar number experienced unwanted non-contact sexual violence (19 per cent).


More than three quarters of adults who experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime knew the perpetrator, and this figure differed little between women and men.

Fewer than half of adults who experienced sexual violence in their lifetime told someone about it.

Examples of the sexual violence experiences include a teenager persuading a friend to watch a pornographic video on their phone when they did not want to see it, someone being persuaded to undress or pose in a sexually suggestive way for photographs as a child, a young woman being made to touch another person’s genitals without her consent, and a man being threatened to have sex.

CSO statistician Helen McGrath said: “We appreciate that behind the data in today’s publication are a range of individual stories, which speak to the lived experience of those who have, and those who have not, experienced sexual violence.


“The publication today provides a lot of important detail and insight on a very serious and sensitive societal issue.”


Sexual violence was defined in the survey as a range of non-consensual experiences, from non-contact experiences to non-consensual sexual intercourse.

The data was compiled from 4,575 responses to the survey.

The CSO expressed appreciation to everyone who took part in the survey.

It noted that approximately 500 people indicated they had not disclosed their sexual violence experiences to anyone prior to the survey.

“We are grateful to those people for placing their trust in us, to all those who took part in the survey, and everyone who contributed to this project,” it said.

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