Cllr Erin McGreehan
A ground-breaking survey into staff and student experiences of sexual violence and sexual harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions has been launched today, Monday April 12, by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
The survey, which will begin today and will be conducted by the Higher Education Authority, will be sent to every student and staff member by their Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
There are over 30,000 staff and 235,000 students in higher education.
Louth Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan said: “I welcome this new national staff and student surveys on sexual violence and sexual harassment by the Department of Higher Education.
“We have seen over the past while so many situations where women in these institutions, whether staff or students, have experienced serious sexual harassment.
"It is a deplorable situation where women are not safe in these institutions.”
The survey will ask students and staff to detail any experience of sexual harassment or sexual violence.
This includes crimes of sexual violence, sexual cyberbullying of any kind including non-consensual taking and/or sharing of intimate images, creating, accessing, viewing, or distributing child sexual abuse material online or offline, stalking behaviours whether online or offline in a sexual context, and any verbal or physical harassment in a sexual context.
Senator McGreehan continued: “This issue requires serious attention, and the survey should be extended to all secondary schools.
"Sexual harassment doesn’t dramatically begin in third level.
"A gender respect and dignity programme needs to be rolled out across our educational institutes.
“I do not believe I know any woman who has not encountered inappropriate sexual behaviour either in her teenage years, through educational experiences and on to early work experiences”
“The “no more excuses” campaign run by the Department of Justice and the Department of Taoiseach is an example of what needs to be done to raise awareness.
"It is an excellent campaign; we just need more awareness campaigns like it.”