Colleges are given 1.5 million for sexual violence and harassment prevention and response managers

Louise Hickey

Minister for Further and Higher education, Simon Harris announced this plan on the 13th of October. 

This occured as a result of increasing sexual violence and harassment figures across third level education. Based on figures from the Rape Crisis Network provided to RTE through freedom of information (FOI), over the last five years cases have been increasing. 

The Rape Crisis Network said there is an under-reporting of sexual violence in colleges.The figures provided proved non-representative of the reality with sexual violence and harassment in colleges.

This funding will help in appointing 17 new positions for sexual violence and harrassment response managers, as well as building upon and expanding resources already there. 

The news came during #UnmuteConsent week. This was launched at the beginning of the month as a collaboration of the Union of Students Ireland (USI), the Irish Universities Association (IUA), the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). 

This new launch is about mobilising students to learn more about consent. During the week, workshops and training are run to help people speak out and report unacceptable behaviour. It allows students to talk about consent and relationships in a positive and confident way.

#UnmuteConsent is just the beginning of plans by the government to help the prevention and spread awareness. 

Speaking of the allocation of €1.5 million and the positions it will go towards, Simon Harris said “these posts will help make a real difference in driving the cultural change we need right across third level for a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment”.

The CEO of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Alan Wall said, “not only will the delivery of the implementation plan to end sexual violence and sexual harrassment in HEIs support this achievement of our vision of an institutional campus culture which is safe, respectful and supportive, it will contribute towards a culture shift in higher education that has the potential to catalyse transformative change in our wider society”. 

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour helpline- 1800 77 8888.

Louise Hickey

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