New campaign gives tools to respond to sexual violence disclosures

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galway daily news active consent campaign usi

An eight-week ‘Start Here’ social media campaign has been launched by NUI Galway’s Active Consent, the Union of Students in Ireland and Galway Rape Crisis Centre.

The national campaign, launched online today, empowers college students and staff with basic information to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment.

The new campaign tools include a downloadable card of tips on disclosure, a series of short videos that work through these tips, and open access to Active* Consent’s 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment.

Active* Consent and the Union of Students in Ireland have partnered with Galway Rape Crisis Centre to turn these findings into a set of tools that can give college students and staff access to key information.

“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,” said Minsiter Simon Harris.

“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.”

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

Charlotte McIvor, co-lead of Active* Consent and lead on this campaign with Alexandra Black at NUI Galway, said that 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 that 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, added that 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,” said Cathy.

“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.”

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/.