Poster for #Unmute Consent with the tagline

Why this campaign

Sexual Violence and Harassment is a problem on our university and IOT campuses and is under-reported. We are all entitled to a safe and respectful third level experience, while at the same time we all have a role to play in ending sexual harassment and violence. The #unmuteconsent campaign recognises the power of the student voice to drive that change.

Supported by HEA, IUA, THEA and USI, this campaign seeks to mobilise our student community to make a difference, by speaking out, by enhancing their own knowledge about consent, and ultimately, by changing behaviours.

The Union of Students in Ireland and Active* Consent Programme 2020 survey, with 6026 student respondents, identified significant evidence of unwanted sexual touching, attempted or completed penetration, acts of coercion, and force or the threat of force. The findings are shocking, but unsurprising, as comparable findings had been made in universities in Australia, the US, and the UK in previous studies.

Consent is about respect, simple as. It is time to own our own roles in demanding and creating cultural change. Let’s be the generation that stands up and speaks out. Let’s be the ones who actually reverse the trend of sexual harassment and violence, to create a truly respectful environment for everyone — on and off our campuses.


We can all make a difference:

This campaign will mobilise students to learn more about consent, about personal responsibility, and about how they can make a difference.

By engaging with the support and training available in every institution, we hope that over time students will be more comfortable in:

  1. Speaking out/reporting unacceptable behaviour and accessing support.
  2. Being active and challenging perceived norms of unacceptable behaviour
  3. Talking about consent and relationships in a positive and confident way
  4. Practising consent in their relationships and interactions
Headshot of Simon Harris next to a quote in support of the #Unmute Consent campaign

“Sexual Consent is described as the freely given verbal or non-verbal communication of a feeling of willingness to engage in sexual activity. This description entails an ongoing, mutual and preferably verbal communication, and is consistent with the definition of consent in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, as where the individual “freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act”.


The #UnmuteConsent Campaign is proudly supported by:

Union of Students in Ireland

Technological Higher Education Association

Irish Universities Association

Higher Education Authority

Launching soon

SPEAK OUT – We believe you, we stand with you, we will support you.”

Launching this October, Speak Out is an Online Anonymous Reporting Tool for incidents of Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, Discrimination, Hate Crime, Coercive Behaviour/Control, Stalking, Assault, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Rape. The tool is truly anonymous and trauma-informed; the aims of Speak Out are to help direct those speaking out to find supports relevant to their experiences, and to help direct institutional initiatives on issues of misconduct. Those who choose to speak out will be given a list of relevant supports, you can also find the full list of supports prior to speaking out, we encourage you to seek support should you wish to do so.

The Speak Out Tool is being developed by PCHEI

Note: UCD is already operating the Report and Support anonymous reporting tool and UCD students can report now.

Launching later

Active* Consent Online Learning Hub
Active* Consent’s new online learning hub will be live from winter 2022 and provide an integrated, publicly- available resource on sexual consent awareness and consent learning resources.

For higher education students, the programme available through the hub reflects the three levels of the Active* Consent online programme – a consent workshop based on the team’s research; an eLearning resource on consent, sexual violence and harassment; and ongoing social media engagement into topics such as a disclosure that links to students’ social media platforms. Additional resources will include a theatrical film “How I Learned About Consent” based on Active* Consent’s original research made in collaboration with higher education students.

For higher education staff, the three tiers of engagement available on the hub will provide awareness-raising on definitions, skills, and student support practices; education for decision-makers and leaders on how they can support lasting culture change; and in-depth training for those involved in consent education, support for student disclosures, and policy implementation.

More information on the work of Active* Consent can be found here

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