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NWCI welcomes new framework to end sexual violence and harassment on campus

Published: Friday, April 05, 2019

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today welcomed the launch of a new framework and the provision of funding for Higher Education Institutes to tackle sexual violence and harassment by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“We know that women aged 18-29 experience sexual violence and harassment at the highest rates. Therefore there is an onus on the Higher Education Institutes to do everything possible to prevent and protect young people and embed a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and harassment.

At the heart of this approach is collaboration and the need for broad cultural change. The new framework creates a map for how this can be achieved. Minister Mitchell O’Connor has demonstrated the need for a cross sectoral response and NWCI actively participated in the Ministers expert group consisting of Higher Education Institutes, students and NGOs that developed this framework."

She continued,

“We welcome that funding of 400,000 Euros will be made available to implement the changes needed. However, as more students are expected to come forward and disclose incidents of sexual harassment and violence as a result of this initiative, additional resources will need to be made available. These must ensure that students that report or disclose incidents receive an appropriate survivor centred response and continued access to support services and counselling. ”

NWCI has been working on this issue through its EU funded ESHTE project (www.itstopsnow.org) and has engaged with staff and students across Ireland.

Tara Brown, Project Coordinator for the Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Third Level Education (ESHTE project) said,

“We have seen an incredible shift over the past number of years where the stigma, victim blaming attitudes and the protection of perpetrators of sexual violence are being challenged. This movement has been driven largely by survivors, NGOs and the student body. But we cannot create sustainable change without the support of Higher Education Institutes and government. This framework represents the shift in creating a national standard for action.

There are incredible initiatives happening and we have witnessed the positive impact of Bystander Intervention, Consent and our #ItStopsNow campaign and toolkit. However, sexual violence is too widespread and its consequences too serious for progress to be piecemeal. Every student, no matter what institute they attend, deserve to be educated in a safe, respectful and supportive environment.“


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

Notes to the Editor:

The ‘It Stops Now’ campaign is an integral part of NWCI’s Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Third-Level Education (ESHTE) project which aims to prevent and combat sexual violence and harassment in third-level institutes across Europe.