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19th Apr 2023

Four in ten adults have experienced sexual violence according to new stats

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The full study will come out next month.

New statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that four in ten adults have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

The survey shows a clear difference in sex and age and showed that over half of women (52%) had experienced some type of sexual violence, whereas for men it was just over a quarter (28%).

Those who took part in the survey, which was conducted in 2022, were over the age of 18. The candidates were selected at random and there was no prior knowledge of their background or circumstances.

There was a mix of ages and sex, as well as people from rural and urban areas.

Around 65% of the people in the survey who said they had experienced sexual violence were aged between 18 and 24 while 17% of men who said this were aged 65 or older.

The study found that women had experienced non-consensual sexual intercourse six times the amount that men had, with the figure at 18% for women compared to 3% for men.

The survey also found that child sexual violence has been experienced by men and women in all age groups but women aged 18-24 were at the highest level.

The CSO reports that almost eight in ten adults who have experienced sexual violence at least one knew their perpetrator, and the figures show little difference between the sexes.

Less than half of adults who experienced this (47%) told someone about the incident, which includes one person, a group or an organisation.

For women, 53% of them told someone else about their experience while 34% of men have.

CSO Statistician Helen McGrath said that this is the first in a series of publications on sexual violence and more findings are to come in the next months, according to RTÉ.

“It is stark information we are providing today… it is uncomfortable reading at times. We will be able to provide more insight in the months to come,” she said.

She added that the CSO hopes this information will ensure better policies surrounding sexual violence are made.

A publication on adult experiences is expected to be published in May, with childhood experiences following later that month or in June and one on disclosures coming in July.

A report on sexual harassment and another on attitudes will also follow in July, with 4,500 people being surveyed.

If you are affected by the issues mentioned in this article, you can contact the resources below:

National Sexual Violence Helpline (for men and women) at 1800 778 888 or

National Domestic Violence Helpline (for women) at 1800 341 900

Male Advice Line (for men experiencing domestic abuse) at 1800 816 588