One in three undergraduate females experienced sexual assault at university

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19th January 2015 12:37 - Education

A new study has found that a third of female undergraduates in the UK have experienced some form of unwanted sexual advances, while studying towards an undergraduate degree at university. One in three undergraduate females experienced sexual assault at university

The findings of the study were published in the wake of the government’s call for universities and colleges to investigate claims of rape and assault themselves, as opposed to leaving the entire investigation to the police.

The findings also revealed that approximately 50 per cent of the respondents know of someone, be it a friend or relative, who had experienced sexual assault or intrusive sexual behaviour.

Similarly, one in three male undergraduates also admitted that they knew a friend or relative who had been through the same kind of sexual incident.

The research also found that three in ten (31 per cent) of female undergraduates had been touched in an inappropriate way. The touching ranged from contact to groping.

Also, one in twenty of the female undergraduates had experienced unwanted touching in more intimate areas or had been pressured into engaging in sexual activity.

34 per cent claimed that they had been a victim of some form of sexual abuse whilst at university.

However, just one in eight male students had experienced sexual abuse whilst studying towards an undergraduate degree.

1 per cent of both male and female students admitted that they had been raped whilst studying at university.

Of those who claimed to have been through any form of sexual assault or abuse, more than two fifths (43 per cent) did not report the encounter to their friends, family or the authorities.

The statistic was higher for males. Three fifths did not report their experience of an unwanted sexual advance.

An alliance of charities and campaign groups, End Violence Against Women Coalition, have claimed that institutions of higher education are classed as public authorities and thus are subject to the Human Rights Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The group have claimed that since higher education institutes are subject to these acts, they must legally work to combat discrimination.

By failing to investigate claims of rape and sexual assault, End Violence Against Women claims that universities are ignoring their responsibilities.

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