One in five thinks sex without consent is 'sometimes okay'
More than a fifth of Irish people think sex without consent is fine in "certain circumstances".
The remarkable findings are contained in an EU report which found that one in 10 Irish people believes that being drunk or on drugs justifies sexual intercourse without consent.
This compares to 30pc in Romania, 24pc in Hungary, 12pc in Bulgaria and 20pc in Latvia.
Some 9pc of Irish and 11pc of EU respondents believe intercourse without consent is justified if a person voluntarily goes home with someone. Similarly, 9pc of Irish respondents said that sex without consent is justified if the person is wearing revealing, provocative or "sexy" clothing.
Perhaps even more shocking, the Eurobarometer poll shows that 7pc of Irish survey participants believe it is justified if a person is out walking alone at night.
Overall, it found 21pc of Irish (and 27pc of EU respondents) think that having sexual intercourse without consent is okay in certain situations.
The survey, which included 1,000 Irish people, also found that 23pc think women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape.
Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: "This shows how important it is to raise the profile of sexual and domestic violence, because people's knowledge remains quite limited.
"All of the studies show that false reports of sexual violence are extremely rare, and yet 23pc of people surveyed believed false reports are common.
"When you report a crime like this, you go through a thorough and often invasive legal investigation. That is some tough going, and that is one reason why false reports are very rare."
Meanwhile, 77pc of Irish people think domestic violence against women in Ireland is common or very common, above the EU average of 74pc.
Some 89pc of Irish people think domestic violence is unacceptable and should always be punishable by the law. But more than one in 10 Irish people think domestic violence is a private matter and should be handled within the family. This compares to an EU average of 15pc with Bulgaria in top place at 34pc and Sweden in bottom place at 2pc.
Orla O'Connor, Director of the National Women's Council of Ireland, said: "Here we are, it's the first day of the 16 days of action and we're looking at a survey that says 12pc of people think it's a private matter. They're shocking statistics.
"Domestic violence is not a family issue; it is a very serious crime," she added.