More than a quarter of uni students sexually assaulted - survey

A sociology expert wants university students to know what support services are available after one in four students taking part in a recent survey reported being sexually assaulted.

The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Otago and published in the Medical Journal on Friday.

They questioned 1540 students from around New Zealand and found 431 students, mostly between 18–23 years old, recorded experiencing some form of sexual assault in their time as a student.

"Almost 28 percent of our respondents reported experiencing at least some form of sexual assault," researcher Melanie Beres told Newshub.

Of those, 15 percent reported rape.

The report also found almost a third of students (178) who said they had been sexually assaulted had told no one about the experience, and 179 told one supporter.

Just over 7 percent told a healthcare professional - which Beres said shows more work needs to be done to get victims the support they need.

She said students need to know the support options universities offer and where they can ask for help.

"First of all some emotional support and understanding. And also some help in terms of navigating their academics, dropping classes or looking at having extensions."

The report into sexual assault at universities is the first a three decades, with the last study published conducted in 1991.

The new report's findings match international research.

Beres said universities need to improve the statistics and the results from the survey will help to figure out the best ways to.

"The result for us provides a strong baseline for where we go from here so it provides a nice starting point so that the university can look at how we are addressing sexual violence."