All universities strive to place the student experience at the heart of the university mission, ensuring that the context exists for every student to thrive, flourish, and develop to their full potential. A safe and respectful academic, extracurricular, and social environment is an essential prerequisite to achieving this objective.
Universities have been very active in recent years in the provision of Sexual Consent training, as a key initiative in ensuring a safe and respectful institutional environment. In this context, Sexual Consent is described as the freely given verbal or non-verbal communication of a feeling of willingness to engage in sexual activity. This description entails an ongoing, mutual and preferably verbal communication, and is consistent with the definition of consent in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, as where the individual “freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act”.
Additionally, with the publication in 2019 of a Consent Framework for higher education institutions entitled Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive – Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions, the work of the universities in this regard has been expanded beyond training and other targeted initiatives, to include institutional policies, processes and structures, to ensure that positive support and prevention are embedded in their institutional culture.
Whether you are a student or member of staff in an Irish university, if you or someone you know needs help or advice relating to sexual consent or wellbeing there are a number of practical and helpful resources available…
For more on consent supports in IUA Universities visit the links below…
IUA’s Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is Tony McMahon