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Irish teenagers facing high levels of sexual harassment, report finds

Four out of five teenagers surveyed said they had been subjected to sexual harassment in the last 12 months.

Image: PA

A NEW REPORT has warned that Irish teenagers are experiencing “high levels” of sexual harassment, with 80% of adolescents reporting that they’ve been subjected to some form of sexual harassment in the last year.

The study, published by Rape Crisis Network Ireland, was based on a survey of nearly 600 teenagers and interviews with 93 adolescents and 21 youth workers.

It asked participants about their experiences during the last 12 months, with ages ranging from 13 to 17.

The findings show that 24% of teenagers surveyed were subjected to physical or extreme forms of sexual harassment, while 83% had witnessed some form of sexual harassment.

Over 40% of the sexual harassment reported by the teenagers surveyed occurred online, while 12% took place in school.

The report also found that nearly 70% of LGBT teenagers had experienced serious sexual harassment, while girls were nearly two and a half times more likely to have experienced unwanted sexual touches compared to boys.

Girls were also twice as likely to have faced sexual harassment online compared to boys.

LGBT teenagers, the report found, were subjected to higher levels of sexual harassment than heterosexual teenagers.

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One of the participants, interviewed as part of the study, said: “It’s just the way it is. Like you could be standing talking to your friends and like some guy will try and grab you or whatever. Like you just have to push them off or whatever.

So, it’s kind of accepted, that just what boys do. Like, it is hard because no one is going to do anything. It happens to everyone at least once.

Another teenager said: “I think because a lot of my friends being LGBT, like it happens a lot more. Like almost every one of my close friends has experienced some sort of sexual harassment.”

Gender inequality and a lack of “adequate” sex education in Irish schools is partially blamed by the report for the level of sexual harassment faced by teenagers.

The study recommends improving relationships and sex education in Irish schools and calls for ways to make it easier for teenagers to report sexual harassment.

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