GMIT welcomes publication by THEA of PROPEL report "Promoting consent and preventing sexual violence in HEIs
Date Article Written:
Monday, March 15, 2021
GMIT welcomes the publication by THEA of the PROPEL Project Report “Promoting Consent and Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Institutions” and supports the call for further funding, increased resources and robust policies and procedures at national and institutional level to help Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) address the challenges.
The report, published today (Monday 15 March 2021), is the culmination of a body of work undertaken by THEA in order to assist technological higher education institutions to implement the national Framework for Consent in Higher Education Institutions: Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive – Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions, published in April 2019.
It details key components and options for inclusion in institutional action plans, outline of best practice and guidelines for emerging policies and procedures in this area and a series of conclusions and recommendations.
GMIT’s Debbie Molloy and Mary Nestor, co-chairs of the GMIT Working Group on Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct and Harassment, warmly welcome the report, saying: “ "Third levels institutions like GMIT are uniquely placed to raise awareness and make a real impact on preventing and responding to sexual misconduct and harassment. At GMIT, we have formed a Working Group, representative of staff and students, and that group is developing a four-year institutional action plan to make progress on these issues that affect our staff and students and the wider population."
Policy Analyst and author of the report, Dr Eavan O’Brien, THEA stated: “It is important to acknowledge that our understanding of the problems of sexual violence and harassment in higher education is still developing, and the best means of preventing and responding to these issues are consequently also in evolution. Rather than the end, this report is just the beginning. Sexual violence and harassment are generally related to power. We must examine structural inequities that are the drivers of unacceptable behaviour and that set the conditions for abuse of power. This includes challenging and dismantling sexism, racism, ableism, and discrimination based on gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. We must also recognise, as a society, that we will be more successful in eradicating these behaviours if we educate and raise awareness of sexual consent at primary and post-primary levels.”
Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO, THEA, said: “This carefully researched report has been of immense assistance to our institutions in developing institutional action plans to tackle sexual harassment across the higher education sector. These action plans will be formally submitted to the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science over the coming weeks. Higher education institutions are in a unique position to influence a significant proportion of the country’s younger population and the collaborative nature of this project has displayed a willingness to work together to assist in all aspects of the implementation.”
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