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06 Dec 2021

New online platform launched for students to report sexual assault

New online platform launched for students to report sexual assault

students will now be able to anonymously report an experience of sexual assault, rape and harassment, discrimination and bullying.

College students will now be able to anonymously report an experience of sexual assault, rape and harassment, discrimination and bullying following the launch of a new online platform.

Speak Out, the new project that's led by the organisation Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHEI), will see 18 colleges and universities in Ireland taking part.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris described it as an "incredibly important initiative" and one that would help create a "zero-tolerance culture".

“The creation of this innovative and supportive online platform will provide a safe and anonymous medium for students and staff to report incidents of bullying, assault or sexual violence in a trauma-informed environment", he added.

Gertie Raftery, chairman of PCHEI, said the project gave a “voice for students and staff in higher education to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment, violence or intimidation of any kind”.

It is hoped the initiative will provide officials with data and fresh insight that will be used to inform new policies to support students.

The project has also received the backing of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

The union’s welfare officer Somhairle Brennan said:

“We know from previous research, and what we regularly hear from students and student representatives, that further action is needed to continue to support students who experience sexual violence or harassment or other forms of aggression or bullying.

“The launch of the Speak Out tool is a welcome step forward in continuing to destigmatise conversations about consent.

“It will hopefully empower students who have had a non-consensual sexual experience to have their voice heard in a way that feels safe for them.”

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