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NWC calls on Government to increase efforts to tackle sexual harassment and violence

Published: Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The National Women’s Council (NWC) today called on the Government to increase its efforts to tackle sexual harassment and violence on campus. NWC highlighted the importance of resourcing and supporting a holistic approach that addresses the needs of students and staff and creates a zero-tolerance culture for sexual harassment and violence.

The call came ahead of a meeting between Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris and the National Advisory Committee, convened by the National Women’s Council, which brings together representatives from higher education institutions, the HEA, Students Unions and USI, sectoral bodies, sexual violence support services and An Garda Síochána.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWC said,  

“We welcome the commitments and actions from Minister Simon Harris to tackle sexual harassment and violence on campuses in 2021.  In particular, we welcome the publication of the Action Plans to Tackle Sexual Violence and Harassment in Higher Education.  This initiative is a crucial step to promote a whole of campus approach, which will hopefully lead to stronger accountability and better monitoring of actions to tackle sexual violence and harassment on campus.”

She continued

“Unfortunately, we expect the imminent report of the National Staff and Student surveys on sexual violence and sexual harassment in Higher Education Institutions to confirm what earlier research and programmes have highlighted. Sexual harassment and violence on campus are widespread and regular experiences for many students and staff.  This has a serious impact on all aspects of the victim’s lives and their trauma can be compounded by the response from an institution which is not fully prepared to offer adequate protection and support.”

She continued,

“The NAC is a crucial forum for cross institutional and cross sectoral learning on this issue.  Over the last year it has developed the Practical Support Guide for those Working on the Ground to Implement the National Framework. This Guide will equip and empower higher education institutes, students and staff to implement their institutions Action Plans and help create an environment where sexual harassment and violence are not tolerated and where clear and practical supports and protections are available to victims, should an incident occur.”

She concluded

“Ireland will report for the first time in 2022 on its commitments under the Istanbul Convention on violence against women. We call on Minister Harris and his Government to provide leadership, support and funding to tackle the scourge of gender-based violence, including continuing their support for the work of National Advisory Committee and its student led awareness campaign, It Stops Now.”


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104.

Notes to the Editor:

The National Women’s Council (NWC) is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. More information is available on www.nwci.ie