The Central Statistics Office releases the final report of its ground-breaking Sexual Violence Survey

5 October 2023

For immediate release

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today released the final report of its ground-breaking Sexual Violence Survey.

Today’s data provides insight on general attitudes to sexual violence. Participants in the survey, who were not themselves survivors, were asked for their level of agreement with certain statements on sexual violence. Their responses provide insights into perceptions of sexual violence according to gender and age.

Key findings:

  • Almost nine in ten (87%) adults disagreed with the statement “If a person who has been raped is not visibly upset by the experience, it probably was not rape”. The rate for men and women was similar, at 88% and 86% respectively.
  • Those aged 65 and over were three times more likely to agree with the statement “Women often make up or exaggerate reports of rape” (15%) compared with those aged 35-44 (5%).
  • Those aged 65 and over were most likely to be uncertain with the statement “Men may be too embarrassed to say they have been raped” (23%), over twice the levels for those aged 18-24 (11%).

Dr Clíona Saidléar, Executive Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland welcomes the data released today by the CSO:

‘’Almost 90% of people surveyed understand that rape victims may not be visibly upset.

This points to a significant shift towards an openness to believe survivors and perhaps an understanding that different people react differently to sexual violence. In other words, increasingly the Irish public is showing a willingness to not act as judge and jury regarding survivors.”

The Sexual Violence Survey report is available on the CSO website.

About Rape Crisis Network Ireland:

RCNI builds and sustains expertise to identify, make the case for, and implement priorities for a whole-of society and Government response to sexual violence.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland’s Executive Director Clíona Saidléar is available for interview.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact

  • Louise Williams Communications Officer / 087 679 0137