Report highlights high levels of sexual harassment in college

The report examines harassment, consent and sex education

Report highlights high levels of sexual harassment in college

Students at a graduation ceremony

An average of seven out of ten Irish women experience sexual harassment in college by the time they finish their third year.

The figure was published today in a new research report on sexual consent among college students.

The research was carried out by the NUI Galway SMART Consent research team in collaboration with their partners at four colleges.

Over half of first year students surveyed reported experiencing “sexual hostility or crude gender harassment” at some point since starting college.

This rose to 64% among second years, up to 70% in third year.

One quarter of first year men experienced harassment, rising to 37% in second year and 40% in third year.


Students were also asked for their thoughts on sex education at Irish schools – with 71% of women and 63% of men unhappy with the teaching they received.

Three quarters of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students said their sex education did not cover the topics they are most interested in.


The report also asked student to answer two versions of a consent story where both characters have been drinking.

One in five said the female character was too drunk to give consent after drinking 14 standard drinks – equalling seven pints, half-a-bottle of vodka, or a bottle-and-a-half of wine.

A third of students said the female character would be too drunk if she drank double this.

Some 14% said a male would be too drunk to consent after 14 standard drink while 30% said he would be too drink after 28.

The Junior Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor will launch the report today.

The researchers carried out surveys with over 3,500 students at consent workshops around the country.