Higher Education stepping up to tackle sexual violence and harassment on campus

By Laura Austin

Posted: 8 December, 2022

Today, 8th December 2022, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) brings together experts and practitioners from across the higher education sector to showcase the latest evidence and good practice in tackling sexual violence and harassment in Irish colleges.

Surveys conducted in 2021 to monitor the experiences of students and staff in higher education institutions highlighted alarming levels of sexual harassment and violence, indicating an urgent need for decisive and holistic action. All publicly funded colleges are now proactively addressing this problem through institutional action plans. Latest HEA analysis of institutional reporting shows a significant increase in work in this area and steady progress toward the goal of ending sexual violence and harassment on our college campuses.

The HEA conference, “Evidence to Action: Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish HEIs” will give higher education staff an opportunity to share learning and to discuss future priorities and approaches in the context of the survey findings and the recently launched HEA Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment Implementation plan.

HEA Chief Executive, Dr Alan Wall said:

“While we know much remains to be done, it is important to recognise the considerable progress that has been made towards addressing sexual violence and harassment in our higher education sector in recent years, and I wish to commend the commitment and innovation demonstrated by our institutions. Ireland is deservedly recognised as a leader in Europe on this issue, and the HEA is committed to further advancing this agenda in the coming years.”

Among the good practice that will be showcased at the conference will be training initiatives such as the Active*Consent programme of the University of Galway and the Bystander Intervention programme at UCC; Moving Parts, which is a student led animation project spearheaded by IADT in collaboration with Active*Consent and the Bystander programme at UCC; the Speak Out reporting tool, which allows students and staff to anonymously report incidents; and the #UnmuteConsent social media campaign, which this year achieved a phenomenal 11.8 million views on social media.



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