How can sexual assaults at festivals be stopped?


While crimes committed at festivals – as well as sexual violence – hit the headlines every a year, there has been very little analysis into the dimensions of the matter.

To help address this, we have a tendency to visit three UK music festivals this summer to speak to workers regarding however they determine and reply to sexual violence.

This builds on a trial we have a tendency to launch at festivals last year, where we have a tendency to asked participants regarding how safe they felt, and whether or not they had tough sexual violence. This was followed by a web survey, wherever 485 recent festival-goers reportable their experiences.


About a third of ladies told us they’d tough molestation and 8% had been sexually abused at a festival within the previous 12 months.

A separate YouGov poll yielded similar results, with 22% of 1,188 festival attendee’s reportage some style of unwanted sexual behaviour. This rose to 30% for women, who in 2016 made up an estimated 60% of festival-goers.

These figures are unlikely to inform the total story. Despite accrued awareness of molestation and violence at festivals, documenting sexual violence is extremely troublesome.

In England and Wales, solely regarding one in 5 rapes and sexual assaults is reported to the police that means official knowledge is Associate in unreliable measure.

Common reasons for not reporting incidents include embarrassment, shame, the worry of not being believed, of responses by the police or courts, or worry of repercussions from the offender. The nature of festivals will create these fears worse, or produce additional challenges. Festivals sometimes happen in temporary venues wherever the layout can change from year to year, which means victims might not apprehend wherever to report a criminal offense or access facilitate.

Many have a low police presence, typically hiring personal security firms to manage safety on site, creating it troublesome to grasp who to turn to. Some victims have said that drinking alcohol or doping up before being attacked led them to blame themselves, or created them unwilling to talk to police.

These factors and their comparatively short timeframe is also why we tend to found lower levels of harassment at festivals than recorded in different similar public areas, like bars and clubs.

For example, a 2015 Drinkaware study reportable 54%  of girls and 15% of men aged 18-24 had encountered harassment on an evening out over the past year. Similarly, a recent study of 5,649 students found 56% had experienced harassment and unwanted sexual behavior at United Kingdom universities. Equally, it should be that festivals are safer than different public areas, with our study finding 9 out of ten “usually” or “always” felt safe.

However, there have been certain places on site wherever people felt less secure, as well as walkways to campsites and also the habitation areas themselves, and in crowds around stages.

These were places wherever individuals could become separated from their friends, security or welfare services, whereas campsites is also less well-lit than different areas.

Despite feeling typically safe, there have been vital wider issues concerning harassment and violence at festivals.

Overall, 1 / 4 of individuals aforementioned they were terribly involved concerning harassment and an additional third were moderately concerned.

There was a marked distinction by gender: sixty-eight of girls said they were terribly involved or concerned concerning harassment going down compared with forty-eight of men.