One in ten women is sexually harassed on holiday and the majority of attacks are in Mallorca and Crete

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  • Warning after poll of 6,000 tourists shows 8.6 per cent report attacks
  • Study found one in 15 men also suffer sexual harassment
  • Researcher says alcohol and leaving inhibitions at home makes holidaymakers more vulnerable

By Steve Robson

PUBLISHED: 02:30 EST, 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:22 EST, 26 June 2013

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One in ten British women is sexually harassed or assaulted while on holiday, a new study has found.

A poll of tourists also found that one in 15 men were victims of sexual harassment, with the majority of attacks taking place in Mallorca and Crete.

One and a half per cent of both men and women said they had been raped.

Warning: One in ten women are sexually assaulted on holiday in Mediterranean countries such as Mallorca, according to a new study

Warning: One in ten women are sexually assaulted on holiday in Mediterranean countries such as Mallorca, according to a new study

Researchers have voiced their concern that, despite the rise of drink and drug misuse and increased sexual activity amid young people in resorts that focus on nightlife, the issue of sexual attacks including rape still lacks proper recognition.

The team surveyed more than 6,000 tourists passing through airports in Crete, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain and found that 8.6 per cent of people fell victim to sexual harassment on their holiday, while 1.5 per cent were raped.

Analysis of results, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, was led by Dr Amador Calafat, a researcher from the European Insitute of Studies on Prevention (Irefea).

Irefea conducts research into violence, driving, sexual behaviour, drunkenness and drug use and its results are used to create European Standards for clubs and bars.

Dr Calafat said: 'We have gone into detail with a broad sample on an issue that receives little attention in tourist environments: sexual harassment and sex against one's will.

'Research was conducted on English and German tourists because they are the most frequent visitors to southern Europe and it is easier to obtain results.'

The study used data collected in 2009 when tourists were heading back to their home countries.

Of the 6,502 holidaymakers between the age of 16 and 35 surveyed the researchers found that one in ten British and German women were harassed, with a similar number of gay and bisexual men falling victim to sexual attacks.

Attacks: Popular holiday destination Crete was named as one of the most frequent for sex assaults

Attacks: Popular holiday destination Crete was named as one of the hot spots for sex assaults

Mr Calafat explained: 'With regard to sexual harassment, those who claimed to have suffered these practices the most were tourists who were visiting Mallorca and Crete, young, British, gay or bisexual, frequent drinkers or attracted to bars where people get drunk, or cocaine consumers.

'2.4 times as many women as heterosexual men claimed to have suffered from sexual harassment. However, gay and bisexual men showed similar levels to women and high levels of sex against their will.'

Mr Calafat suggested that people leaving their inhibitions at home could be putting them at risk once they reach their holiday destinations.

He said: 'The first preventive measure is to be aware that these problems exist, since we tend to always think positively about holidays.

'There are measures that depend on tourist destinations, which are often promoted as places with a high level of sexual permissiveness and advertise cheap alcohol.

'The venues themselves can also avoid these situations by adopting good management in accordance with already established standards.'

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