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A study of self-reported criminal victimization rates among study abroad students found that victimization rates were generally low, but they were moderate to high in regard to incidents of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and property theft (without force).

The study published in the Journal of Studies in International Education was based on an online survey of about 1,000 undergraduate study abroad students distributed by three participating private colleges and two study abroad providers; the survey garnered about an 18 percent response rate. It asked students about behavior that is criminal in nature as well as noncriminal forms of sexual harassment known to negatively affect students.

Students reported that public spaces were the most common location for experiencing a theft, physical assault or sexual harassment, while bars and nightclubs were the most commonly reported location for sexual assault. Students most commonly identified a “local” as the perpetrator, with the exception of cases of property theft. Women -- who accounted for 86 percent of survey respondents -- were much more likely to report experiencing sexual harassment, while men reported higher rates of physical assault or theft. Students studying in Africa, North America and South America were more likely to report being a victim of a crime than students studying in Asia, Australia and Europe. Victimization rates did not differ based on other variables including roommate and housing situation or year of study.

The study from University of New Haven researchers Tracy L. Tamborra, Amy Nicole Baker, Sara Jeffries, Melissa Tempio and Emelia Campbell can be accessed free at this link through the end of August.