Jun 30, 2020

Most Universities Do Not Record Sexual Assaults, Survey Finds

This month, USI found that nearly one third of female students have experienced non-consensual penetration during their time in college.

Cormac WatsonEditor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Almost no college or university in Ireland has records of how many people have been sexually assaulted on their campuses over the past three years, a survey by the Irish Independent has found.

Trinity – along with Cork Institute of Technology, Waterford Iinstitute of Technology, Dublin City University (DCU) – was included in the group of colleges that lacked records of sexual violence.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, College said that it “does not have data on reports of sexual misconduct, harassment, assault or rape”.


The Irish Independent also reported that a framework for reporting sexual assault anonymously on campuses is currently being developed.

Gertie Rafferty , a student counsellor at Dundalk Institute of Technology, is developing the programme. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Rafferty said that she hoped that “data provided from the reporting system will provide a broader picture of sexual violence on colleges campuses”.

She added that “neither the victim nor the perpetrator will be named and it is hoped that this will overcome some of the reticence students have around reporting such incidents”.

Speaking to the Irish Independent DCU said: “Any allegation of a criminal nature, including sexual assault, whether they occurred on or off campus are referred to gardaí. The university is not informed if/what action is taken by the gardaí as this is a private matter between the individuals concerned and the gardaí.”

Maynooth University told the Irish Independent that the number of cases of sexual assaults over the past three years recorded on campus was “very small” so “to release details could identify the individuals concerned. All cases were referred to the gardaí”.

This month, a survey conducted by NUI Galway and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) found that nearly a third of female students have experienced non-consensual penetration during their time in college.

The survey, which had over 6,000 participants, also found that 35 per cent of female students who had experienced non-consensual penetration – by incapacitation, force or threat of force – had not told anyone about the incident.

Some 28 per cent of non-binary students said they had experienced non-consensual penetration during their time in college, with 10 per cent of male students having had a non-consensual penetrative experience.

In a video published on Twitter yesterday, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris Harris, said he is under “no illusion” about the issues faced by universities, including sexual harassment on college campuses.

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