New statistics reveal the extent of sexual harassment and assault at music festivals

Sexual harassment or assault has been experienced by nearly one in five people at British music festivals, new figures reveal.

Campaigners say that the figures,thought to be the first recorded at festivals, should herald the start of festivals treating sexual violence as seriously as other crimes.

A poll by the Press Association reveals that some 22 per cent of all Britons who have been to a festival experienced faced unwanted sexual behaviour, with the figure rising to one in three of women (30 per cent) and nearly half (43 per cent) of women under 40.

Specifically, the most common forms of unwanted sexual behaviour experienced by respondents came in the form of forceful dancing and sexual verbal harassment.

Another eleven percent of women had experienced sexual assault while they were conscious, in contrast to three per cent of men.

Four percent of women also said they faced a sexual  assault while unconscious or asleep, compared to two per cent of men.

It also revealed that seventy percent of sexual assault victims did not know the perpetrator, while only 1 per cent of women reported sexual assault or harassment to a member of festival staff.

When asked how satisfied they were with how festivals dealt with the issue, some 45 percent  of people said they did not know, although  24 per cent said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Tracey Wise, founder of campaign group Safe Gigs For Women, said: “We have struggled to find anyone with any definite statistics on this before now.

“It gives us something to show to festival organisers so we can say ‘you need to take this on board.”