Find out our latest news

Large rise in reports of sexual assaults at UK universities

3 Oct 2019

Reports of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment at UK universities have trebled in three years, a BBC investigation suggests.

Universities told the BBC they recorded 1,436 allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence against students in 2018-19 - up from 476 in 2016-17.

The data, from 124 of 157 universities, shows not all have robust systems to prevent or respond to sexual violence.

Universities said they were making progress in dealing with the issue.

It is believed the increase may partially reflect the fact that some universities have made it easier for students to report allegations and receive support - three years ago universities promised action amid concern about sexual violence on campus.

Behind the statistics are the experiences of students such as Louisa - not her real name - who was raped by a fellow student.

She thinks a drink was spiked at a student party, leaving her nauseous and disorientated the next day.

Louisa kept the experience to herself for months until she confided in friends and family about the reason for her escalating anxiety and depression.

"I felt that there wasn't really any point in being here because I was just constantly on edge, constantly frightened that he was gonna, like, burst through my bedroom door," she said.

Read the full story by Branwen Jeffreys on the BBC News website