Nora Gaye Banton reports

A new study conducted by the Northern Caribbean University, NCU, has found that 36 per cent of young people between the ages of 18 and 30-years-old have been sexually assaulted while complying with official stay-at-home orders.

The lead researcher is Paul Bourne.

The study was conducted between June and August, 2021among 5-hundred and 6 young adults across Jamaica and has a 4.5 percent margin of error.

The NCU study is titled ‘An inquiry into Sexual Assault among Young Jamaicans.’

The Northern Caribbean University, NCU, says staying at home to protect themselves from exposure to COVID is proving to be disastrous for many young Jamaicans who’ve become victims of sexual predators.

The NCU study found that nearly four in ten or 36 percent of Jamaicans ages 18 to 30 have been sexually assaulted while complying with official stay-at-home orders.

Nearly 44 percent of the respondents who were females say they were victims of sexual assault.

Just over 15 percent of the males say they were victims.

NCU says close to 14 percent of the cases occurred at home.

This accounted for the majority of the sexual assault cases.

But the research also revealed that 4.3 percent of cases were at school and 4.2 percent in a vehicle.

Meanwhile, NCU has described as disturbing the finding that most of the victims were sexually assaulted by people they know.

Lead researcher Paul Bourne says a friend or family friend was identified as the main perpetrator.

Mr. Bourne says nearly 50 per cent of those sexually assaulted also indicated they were threatened following the sexual encounter.

The study also found that nearly all the victims of sexual abuse in the survey have not reported the matter to the Police.

In the meantime, Mr. Bourne noted that social isolation and lockdowns have created a sexual pandemic as young Jamaicans have become targeted by sexual predators in their homes.

Paul Bourne, Lead Researcher speaking with Nationwide News.

He says policymakers need to implement measures to address a pending public health crisis that may include sexually transmitted infections, post-traumatic stress disorder, and unwanted pregnancy.