Framework for Consent in Higher Education Institutions

The Framework on Consent for HEIs was launched on April 5th 2019. The Framework is a policy document from the Department of Education & Skills that sets out expectations in terms of institutional culture, organisational procedures and structures, and targeted initiatives for students and staff. 

The goal of the Framework is to identify the areas in which HEIs are expected to be active in having a culture that highlights and prioritises sexual assault prevention as an important responsibility, supported by specific, transparent, and accessible policies, and reflected in the direct experience of students (e.g. exposure to messaging on sexual assault and consent, impact on awareness and understanding of active consent). HEIs are expected to proactive in identifying how existing structures and processes should be adapted to meet these aims, and in working toward the goals set out in the Framework.

Consent Framework (2020) - cover
The Framework can be accessed here 

Consent Framework Implementation in NUI Galway

Consent Framework Implementation Action Plan

NUI Galway’s Consent Framework Implementation Action Plan was submitted to the HEA on February 26th 2021. You can access the Action Plan here: Consent Framework Implementation Action Plan

The 2021 Progress Report can be found at the following link: NUI Galway's 2021 Progress Report on Consent Framework Implementation‌.

Sexual Violence and Harassment Prevention and Response Committee

The Consent Framework Implementation Working Group has been renamed the Sexual Violence and Harassment Prevention and Response Committee to reflect sectoral norms and the wider remit regarding sexual violence and harassment within this group.

Staff & Student Awareness-raising and Education

A layered programme of staff awareness raising and training has been developed, led by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and the Active* Consent Team, supported by the OVPEDI. The first element of this programme was provided to members of UMT, Heads of Schools and larger Units via Zoom on September 8th, 2020.

NUI Galway and Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) are currently offering First Point of Contact training (9 hours over three x 3-hour sessions) for members of staff and students in positions of responsibility. This training includes disclosure training, with a particular focus on the university environment, and incorporating cultural change.

An awareness raising video for all staff was launched in May 2021 to introduce the Consent Framework and the concept and tips around disclosure - the Staff Awareness video can be accessed here. An 8-week campaign to support disclosure, knowledge and skills for students and staff was launched by Active* Consent, Galway RCC, and USI on March 1st 2021.

The ‘Moving Parts’ collaborative project with IADT, UCC and NUI Galway was launched on the 23rd March 2022. Moving Parts is a student led animation project which draws attention to sexual consent, bystander intervention, and image-based sexual abuse from the perspective of third-level students. Several powerful animations, in English and Irish, were developed to raise awareness of these critical issues, as part of an active collaboration between students and staff at IADT, NUIG Active* Consent, and UCC Bystander Intervention:  https://iadt.ie/about/equality-diversity-inclusion/moving-parts/.

You can find out more about the Active* Consent Programme here. The Active* Consent Toolkit can be accessed here.

UniSAFE

NUI Galway are participating in UniSAFE, a three-year EU project to provide measurable evidence on the prevalence of gender-based violence in universities and research organisations. UniSAFE is coordinating a survey among staff and students in 46 participating higher education/research performing organisations in the EU.  The survey will be conducted for one month commencing in April. Participating institutions in Ireland also include Maynooth University and University College Cork. Survey results will be integrated with qualitative evidence in a multi-level study design, analysed and translated into operational tools for research performing organisations and policymakers.

National Survey on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Higher Education

The reports of the ‘National Survey on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Higher Education’ pertaining to students and staff were published in February:    (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/09bb5-report-on-surveys-of-experiences-of-sexual-violence-and-harassment-in-higher-education/#). This research was led by a team of NUI Galway researchers.