Nationwide Online Campaign Provides Tools to Respond to Disclosures of Sexual Violence and Harrassment

NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and GRCC launch “Start Here” campaign that will provide tools on how college staff and students can support someone who discloses sexual violence or harassment to them

NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, the Union of Students in Ireland and Galway Rape Crisis Centre have launched an eight-week “Start Here” social media campaign.

This national campaign empowers college students and staff with basic information to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment. It was launched online today (1 March 2021) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD.

The new “Start Here” campaign tools include a downloadable card of tips on disclosure, a series of short videos that work through the tips, and open access to Active* Consent’s 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment based on further data gathered from the Sexual Experiences Survey carried out in 2020 by the Active* Consent team and Union of Students in Ireland.

Active* Consent and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have partnered with Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) to turn these findings into a set of tools that could be disseminated and amplified online to give college students and staff access to key information.

Over the next eight weeks, “Start Here” will offer:

  • Basic do’s and dont’s of receiving a disclosure
  • Key information on support services and how to access them nationally
  • Current research statistics on college students’ experiences of sexual violence and harassment
  • Open access to Active* Consent’s self-guided 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment
  • The opportunity to access online student-tailored disclosure training by Galway Rape Crisis Centre
  • Ongoing interactive content diving deeper into all of this information in detail through quizzes, stories and other forms of direct engagement

Minister Harris stated: “I would like to pay tribute to NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre for developing the “Start Here” campaign. My Department is determined to tackle sexual harassment and sexual violence in our Higher Education Institutions and this eight-week social media campaign will help empower students and staff with information and advice on how to respond practically and compassionately to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment”

Charlotte McIvor, co-lead of Active* Consent and lead on this campaign with Alexandra Black at NUI Galway, said: “Key to Active* Consent’s mission is doing the research and then creating tools and experiences that build knowledge and engagement for students and staff regarding consent, sexual violence and harassment. “Start Here” meets this aim by taking an intimidating topic for many and translating it into sound bites and concrete steps that college staff and students can make use of in the real world.”

As part of this launch, Active* Consent also announced the full details of their staff training programme which is now accessible, including a 15-minute animation to introduce all college staff to basic information about consent, sexual violence and harassment and a First Point of Contact training programme created in partnership with Galway Rape Crisis Centre.

Union of Students in Ireland President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “USI is delighted to partner with the Active* Consent team on this national campaign aiming to advise students on how to best support their friends or classmates during and after a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment. The results from the Sexual Experiences Survey emphasised the crucial role friends and other peers play when it comes to supporting survivors of sexual violence and assault. The main objective of this campaign is to provide students with practical knowledge and understanding of how to support someone who discloses to them. This campaign has the potential to make a significant impact on creating a supporting environment for survivors of sexual violence, assault and harassment.”

Cathy Connolly, Executive Director, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, said: “Galway Rape Crisis Centre has been supporting survivors of sexual violence for almost 40 years. One of the key things we have learned is that the response a survivor receives when disclosing their experiences can have an impactful and long lasting effect. GRCC are delighted to be partnering with the Active*Consent team and the Union of Students in Ireland on this national campaign. The campaign aims to give students and young people access to information on how to best support their friends and themselves when a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment happens, and offers the opportunity to build further skills in this area. Part of GRCC’s mission is to work towards ending cultural and societal tolerance of sexual violence and this campaign is a positive step in this direction.”

Active* Consent is funded by Lifes2Good Foundation, Rethink Ireland, NUI Galway, Higher Education Authority and Department of Education and Skills.

To track the campaign on social media, follow Active* Consent on: Facebook: Active Consent at NUI Galway; Instagram: @activeconsent; Twitter: @activeconsent and use the hashtags: #StartHere #IBelieveSurvivors.

To view the “Start Here” elearning module see: https://activeconsent.usi.ie/training/#/ and to access the campaign website visit: www.nuigalway.ie/activeconsent/start-here/.

For more information about the “Start Here” Campaign or how to work directly with Active* Consent, email activeconsent@nuigalway.ie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please Confirm

This website is only for the eyes of medical professionals. Are you a medical professional?