‘Bystander intervention’ training introduced across universities

Jessica Woodlock

Universities across Ireland have launched a series of workshops to highlight the danger of abusive behaviour and “inform and empower students to better understand their capacity to safely intervene”.

The ‘Bystander Intervention’ course can be taken both online and in person. It features talks, workshops and a short film.

“Recent events have shocked the country and started an important and diverse conversation around sexual violence and harassment as well as women’s safety,” said Dublin City University’s Student Support and Development Director, Clare Bohan in a statement.

“We know that this programme can have a positive impact” said Ms Bohan, “we need to work together to ensure a safe and respectful environment for everyone by educating ourselves about the harmful mentalities and behaviours that reinforce violence against women”.

DCU have launched the programme across their student portal Loop, in the form of four online workshops. The workshops feature different scenarios that might happen to a person on a night out and how best to help them.

“By ‘intervening’ at a party, in the bar, or on a corridor, we can make a massive impact on the outcome, and ensure that sexual harassment or assault is avoided,” said Ms Bohan.

The course is taking place at universities nationwide, including University College Cork, University College Dublin and the University of Limerick.

In UCC, the signups for the Bystander Prevention programme more than tripled after the murder of Ashling Murphy, according to Louise Murphy, the founder of the programme.

Ms Murphy was killed as she was out for a run in Tullamore, Co. Offaly on the 12th of January. Following her death there have been increased calls for a change in approach to gender based violence in Ireland.

Jessica Woodlock