Study finds 15% of Irish adults experience rape in their lifetime

Study Finds 15% Of Irish Adults Experience Rape In Their Lifetime
A report published by Women's Aid found over half of young women abused were under the age of 18.
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Muireann Duffy

Fifteen per cent of Irish adults have been raped at some point in their life, according to a study by Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University.

The research into sexual violence in Ireland is the first its kind in 18 years, and finds one in five women have been raped in their lifetime, compared to one in 10 men.

It also highlights a third of all adults have experienced some form of sexual violence.

Co-lead of the study, Dr Philip Hyland from Maynooth University, says the figure of 15 per cent who have been raped could be even higher.

"In our study, we were unable to access people in really vulnerable situations - people who are homeless, hospitalised, in prison or in institutions.

"We know these populations have very high rates of sexual violence in their lifetime, so if anything the figure of 15 per cent may be an underestimate of the figure in the population."

UN Day Opposing Violence against Women


The publication of this research comes as a report from Women's Aid found that over half of young women abused are under the age of 18.

The publication marks the UN Day Opposing Violence against Women, highlighting three in five young people between 18 and 25 know someone under the age of 25 who has experienced abuse by a partner, or have experienced such abuse themselves.

The research also found that one in five young women experience some form of abuse from their current partner, with 51 per cent saying the abuse started when they were under 18.

It is not the entry into adulthood that we want or imagine for our young people.

Women's Aid chief executive, Sarah Benson said: "The findings of this national survey show us that we have particularly alarming levels of intimate relationship abuse experienced by young women in this country.

"As a society, we cannot continue to stand over a situation where such a significant number of young women, many minors, are deeply harmed and traumatised at the hands of current or former intimate partners.

"It is not the entry into adulthood that we want or imagine for our young people."

Anyone experiencing abuse can contact the Women's Aid 24-hour National Freephone Helpline on 1800-341 900, or use the Instant Messaging Support Service on

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