1 in 7 UCC students were victims of rape or sex assault

Nearly one in seven students at University College Cork say they have been a victim of rape or serious sexual assault — although it is feared the actual figure may be far higher.

Around a third of students at UCC also said they had experienced minor sexual assaults.

That is according to a voluntary survey which was distributed across campus and completed by 333 students, two-thirds of whom are women.

Around 15% of respondents said they had been raped or sexually assaulted, while 33% said they had been victims of less serious assaults, including other students “grinding up against them in a sexual manner”.

Some 82% of respondents said they don’t know how to report a sexual offence to the university authorities, although there is a protocol in place for complaints to be taken by their head of faculty.

The survey says just two people reported alleged sexual assaults to the university, while seven made complaints to the gardaí.

The survey was led by students involved in the newly formed information campaign, Know Offence. It aims to dispel myths surrounding sexual violence and to highlight services available to affected students.

Campaign officer Lucy Jones, a final-year law student, said it was worrying that so many sexual attacks had not been reported to the authorities. This may be because victims wrongly blame themselves, she said, adding that the real figure for sexual assaults may be far higher.

Fellow campaigner Ruth Lawlor said: “The vast majority of students do not know where to report a sexual offence to university authorities in order to seek disciplinary action against the offender. This is something that UCC is committed to working on, and we are happy to report that the university has given us its full support in this regard.”

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