New online tool to report sexual assault in colleges

A new method for reporting sexual assaults in colleges has been launched.

Entitled the ‘Speak Out’ project the new online tool allows staff, students and visitors to anonymously report incidents of sexual assault.

Data collected from the platform will also be used to inform policy and targeted educational initiatives.

As well as sexual assault the tool can be used to report incidents of bullying, discrimination, hate crimes, stalking and assaults.

The project will be rolled out across 18 higher education institutions throughout the academic year, with Trinity College, Dublin City University and University of Limerick spearheading the project.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said that the new online platform will provide a “safe and anonymous medium” in which to report incidents of bullying, assault of sexual violence. 

“Speak Out represents a national approach to tackling these issues by raising awareness, and by providing a means of recording instances, which will assist in achieving a zero-tolerance culture” said Minister Harris in a statement. 

As well as offering a place to report crimes, the Speak Out service will also provide a tailored list of support services available to victims.

The project has in part come about due to a 2019 report on consent in higher education which stressed the need for data to be collected on the frequency of sexual harassment and violence on college campuses.

Jessica Woodlock