We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Last year 8% of young adults had their sexual images or videos shared without consent

The report also shows that 50% of young adults experienced sexual harassment in the twelve-month period.

MORE THAN ONE in twelve young adults (8%) reported having their sexual images or videos shared without their permission during a twelve-month period, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). 

The survey was carried out between May 2021 and December 2022 and posed questions related to a variety of forms of sexual harassment. 

Other key findings in the report published today show that 50% of young adults (18 to 24 years) experienced sexual harassment in the twelve-month period, with 20% of adults reporting the same. 

Women are more than twice as likely as men to experience sexual harassment (28% compared to 13%). Women are also more likely to be subjected to inappropriate physical contact than men (13% and 4%).  

In 87% of sexual harassment cases, victims reported the perpetrator as male. 

50% of men who suffered such harassment did not disclose their experience while 70% of people who experienced stalking with fear of sexual violence did tell someone about it. 

The most common place where people experienced sexual harassment was in a pub, club or disco, with 18% of men and 29% of women saying this was where such incidents occurred. 

The most prevalent form of sexual harassment experienced was where remarks of a sexual nature were made while not online. This included “crude or sexually explicit remarks that the person found offensive, humiliating, or intimidating.”

The CSO defined sexual harassment in this survey as “unwanted behaviours that a person may have experienced in the last 12 months, which made the person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated.”


Stalking was defined as “persistent, unwanted actions such as following you, waiting for you, contacting you by phone, text and/or social media, that are against your wishes or imply threats.”

The specification of fear of sexual violence was introduced because “stalking in general involves a wider scope of unwanted behaviours incorporating aspects of domestic violence or coercive control, the question on stalking in this CSO survey focused on where a person feared they were at risk of sexual violence.

“Hence this variable is described as ‘stalking with fear of sexual violence’,” explained CSO statistician Helen McGrath. 

29% of adults who experienced stalking with fear of sexual violence said it involved a stranger. 

24% said they experienced it with a friend or acquaintance. A further 23% of adults noted that it was a partner or ex-partner who was the perpetrator.

The least prevalent perpetrator was a family member or relative, with 3% of adults selecting that response.

For women who reported this kind of stalking, almost all (98%) of the perpetrators were male, with that figure falling to 92% in cases overall. 

Only 18% of adults who were subjected to stalking and feared sexual violence reported it to gardaí. 

McGrath thanked those who had taken part in the survey and stressed that behind the numbers were human stories. 

“We appreciate that behind the data in today’s publication are a range of individual stories, which speak to the lived experience of those who have, and those who have not, experienced sexual harassment.

“The publication today presents insight on sexual harassment for those who have experienced it.”

Responding to the publication of the CSO report, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre CEO Noeline Blackwell said:

“The CSO’s new data release shows there is widespread sexual harassment around Ireland, with one in 5 people affected by this corrosive, damaging behaviour in the past year.

“We know that such behaviours can escalate into more serious sexual offences; at the least, they help create an environment for serious offending to be minimised and excused.

“Most importantly, this behaviour can negatively impact and limit the freedom of victims of sexual harassment to live their lives without intimidation and distress.”

Blackwell also highlighted the need for better education given the prevalence of sexual harassment reported by young people.

“Given the level of abuse among young people, it is very timely that we have seen the updating of SPHE curricula in our secondary schools, with Senior Cycle now under review.

“It is also crucial the new agency planned to assume responsibility for coordinating our national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence will be able to tackle this issue in a holistic way,” she said.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.