Background: Alcohol-related rape among university students is clearly a major concern. However, there have been no large-scale surveys of the prevalence of this offence among university students in the UK. The aim of the current paper is to investigate the prevalence and characteristics of alcohol-related rape among university students in seven universities in Wales.
Methods: All universities in Wales were approached to take part in the research. Eight of the nine universities agreed to take part and seven universities emailed their students as planned. On the launch date, emails were sent by the universities to all students requesting that they take part in the survey. The email contained a link to a questionnaire covering a range of topics including: demographics, lifestyle factors, and substance misuse.
Results: In total, 7,846 students submitted a questionnaire. Overall, just under six per cent of females reported being the victim of alcohol-related rape while at university compared with one per cent of males. Sexual orientation was significantly correlated with alcohol-related rape, with three per cent of heterosexuals reported being the victim of alcohol-related rape, compared with eight per cent of lesbians or gays. Students who drank alcohol frequently and those involved in binge drinking were also significantly more likely to report the offence.
Conclusions: The government and universities should play a more direct role to ensure that actions are taken to deter, prevent, and treat the consequences of these largely unreported offences.