An Exploratory Study of the Prevalence of Sexual Abuse in a Sample of 16-21 Year Olds

September 16, 1991


This report focuses primarily on the overall prevalence of sexual abuse among a representative sample of young people, the forms of abuse they have experienced, the ages at which they occurred and the relationship between victim and abuser. A detailed questionnaire was completed by 1,244 students aged 16-21 attending seven Further Education Colleges in England, Scotland and Wales.

Short summary of findings;

One in two girls and one in four boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before their eighteenth birthday. In this survey of 1,244 young people aged between 16 and 21, 59% of young women and 27% of young men reported at least one sexually intrusive experience before they were 18. Sexual abuse, here, is defined broadly including ‘flashing’, being touched, being pressured to have sex and attempted and actual assaults/rapes. Abuse was committed by both adults and peers. Almost a third of these incidents occurred before the age of 12.

See Project: Exploratory Study of the Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse

Available from: The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit Short Report: £6.50 plus £1.00 p&p Long Report: £9.00 plus £1.00 p&p