The comprehensive Toolkit for Consent Education is to be implemented across 22 Higher Education Institutions.
Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, launched the Active Consent Toolkit: Developing a Consent Strategy for your Higher Education Institution on September 21, 2020.
Produced by NUI Galway’s Active Consent Programme, the Toolkit:
- Contains an eLearning module 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
- Offers guidance to Higher Education Institutions in developing an Action Plan on consent, sexual violence and harassment, as well as addressing consent education through a sustainable and joined-up strategy across each campus community
- Provides resources and research from NUI Galway’s new online Active Consent Programme designed to meet the call for consent education for all students in 2020-2021
- Is aimed at Higher Education staff and administrators, including managers, academic, and support staff; Student representatives working with their Students’ Unions, Societies and Sports Clubs, or on behalf of their academic disciplines; and the wider community including external stakeholders such as the rape crisis movement, advocacy groups, and post-primary education.
Minister Harris has asked all Higher Education institutions to devise Action Plans to address consent, sexual violence and harassment in third level education, and to make the consent workshops developed by NUI Galway available to all students.
Minister Simon Harris said:
“The Sexual Experiences Survey clearly shows us there is so much work to be done. We have to do more to raise awareness and support students, and the Active Consent Toolkit will greatly assist institutions in a really practical way.
“I want to see all of our higher education institutions further embed the Consent Framework into their policies and procedures so as to ensure a deep and lasting impact.
“All institutions have now been asked to develop and publish, by February next, specific institutional action plans on tackling sexual violence and harassment, and provide an annual report on their progress in implementing the Framework.
“I believe the higher education sector ought to take on a leadership role in our societal response to sexual violence and harassment, and these are important steps forward to advance that aim.”
President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said:
“I’d like to thank Minister Harris for attending today’s virtual launch of this very important Toolkit and welcome his prioritisation of this critical issue by making consent workshops mandatory and available to all students.
“I would also like to congratulate the Active Consent team at NUI Galway for the excellent work and leadership they have shown throughout the ongoing development of this programme and the workshops that have been openly shared and sustainably scaled up to the 22 Higher Education Institutions to date.
“Respect for our students and staff is one of our University’s core values which we take very seriously. Education and support around the subject of consent for our student community is a critical learning component that should be made available to everyone during their university journey. Supporting the safety, health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority.”
Dr Padraig MacNeela, Active Consent Programme Co-Lead, NUI Galway, said:
“Our latest research shows that teenagers in schools and young adults in colleges strongly support the idea that consent means having the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and having their partners hear and respect these preferences. But the research also shows that the confidence to act on this understanding can be undermined by embarrassment and shame, including misperceptions of what your peers actually think. There is also now evidence to show that a number of young people either agree with or do not actively reject misinformed and potentially harmful rape myths.”
Dr Charlotte McIvor, Co-Lead of the Active Consent Programme and Editor of the Active Consent Toolkit, said:
“The Toolkit offers significant opportunities for learning, culture and behaviour change in the area of sexual violence and harassment in higher education, not only doubling down on the Active Consent Programme’s key message that Consent is OMFG (ongoing, mutual and freely-given) through an accessible and comprehensive usable toolkit format but also providing a new fresh vision of how to work together sustainably within and across Higher Education Institutions to achieve lasting change in these areas.”
Dr Pádraig MacNeela, concluded:
“Schools and colleges are important settings for education on positive, active consent that in turn works against tolerance of sexual violence and harassment. The Consent Framework for colleges is one of the best strategies available internationally for enabling the Higher Education sector to seize the opportunity to achieve this potential – and in providing support for colleges to meet the challenges faced while developing the capacity to do so.
“By providing supports like the Consent Toolkit, we are asking our colleges to embrace change on all levels, to work together to meet the needs of those affected by sexual violence and harassment, and to promote a culture of positive, active consent consistent with healthy development.”
For more information about the Toolkit visit: www.nuigalway.ie/activeconsent
To receive a Toolkit please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Co-Lead of the Active Consent Programme at NUI Galway with Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.