Online Sexual Consent Hub Launched for Third-Level Institutions

A new online sexual consent hub for third-level students and staff will be available for the 2021/2022 academic year.

The digital hub aims to promote educational and informative resources on sexual consent and is part of a wider national campaign led by the Department of Justice.

The online service will provide information and support for students, along with workshops on sexual consent.

Higher education staff will also have access to training in awareness, disclosure and cultural change, as well as education on the promotion of consent.

The resources on the website were developed for the third-level sector by the Active Consent research team in the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton launched the hub and announced funding for the initiative at NUIG on July 19.

Launching the initiative, Minister Harris said: “No part of our society is untouched by sexual violence and harassment. People need to be safe, empowered, confident, and capable in their relationships and Ireland can take a leading role in confronting sexual violence and harassment.”

He continued that the work being done in Irish higher education can lead as an example on consent and “can be a positive educator for other areas”, as the hub will also serve as a resource for the wider community.

Speaking at NUIG, Minister Naughton added that there can be “no place for any forms of sexual violence and harassment in our society.”

The Department of Justice has committed to supporting a victim’s journey through a roadmap to improve the justice system for victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases.

The awareness campaign aims to help create a shared understanding of the meaning and importance of consent by the end of the year.

Higher education institutions across Ireland have published action plans, detailing their commitment to tackling sexual violence and harassment in higher education ahead of the upcoming academic year.

In its “Rising to the Future 2020-2024’ plan, University College Dublin (UCD) committed to promoting a culture of zero tolerance to sexual violence and sexual harassment for all members of the University community.

Dublin City University (DCU) stated that the college takes the issue of respect, of all forms very seriously and believes that each student should enjoy a college experience free from abuse and harassment of any type.

Higher education institutions will be required to report on progress in implementing the Framework for Consent to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) annually.

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