Active Consent toolkit launched for third-level institutions

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris have launched a new Active Consent toolkit for third-level institutions in Ireland to tackle sexual harassment on campuses around the country.

Earlier this year, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) published the findings of a survey on the prevalence of sexual harassment in Irish colleges.

29 per cent of female, 10 per cent of male and 28 per cent of non-binary students reported non-consensual penetration by incapacitation, force, or threat of force during their time in college.

Following the publication of the findings, Mr Harris expressed his shock and promised to meet with the National Advisory Committee on sexual harassment and violence in third-level education in early August.

“A third of female students reported having been raped. Let that sink in. Two thirds had been sexually harassed. I didn’t think I lived under a rock but I was stunned by its findings,” he said.

The Active Consent toolkit launched today contains research on sexual harassment and consent which was carried out by NUI Galway's Active Consent Programme.

The toolkit includes eLearning modules to close gaps in students’ understanding of sexual violence and harassment, including the legal definition of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, and how to access support services.

The toolkit will be rolled out across 22 third-level institutions, with Mr Harris tweeting: "The days of turning a blind eye to this problem are over."