Ógra Aontú have called for the implementation of mandatory consent workshops for all students in third level education.

Spokesperson for the group, Bernadette Harkin said:

“The results of the survey published by NUI Galway’s Active Consent Programme and the USI this morning paint a damning picture. Of those surveyed who were past their third year in college, over two thirds had experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence!”

Bernadette continued: “this tragic and shameful statistic must be addressed immediately. We in Ógra Aontú believe that consent workshops should be mandatory for all incoming students as part of freshers week. These workshops, which are already in operation, but are not mandatory, would help both victims and witnesses to identify the alarm bells associated with sexual abuse and harassment as well as educating all students on the meaning of, and need for consent in relationships. We feel that if consent workshops were mandatory for every student entering campuses around the county, not only would healthy discourse around the topic reach all student groups, but we would see an increase in the reporting of harassment/ sexual violence. The findings of the survey today notes that many students do not report their experiences to the authorities and we cannot let this remain the norm.”

“I think it would be of benefit to society too if pub/ night club bouncers were trained in identifying potentially hazardous situations and adapting preventative measures especially given the environment in which they work. We must all work together, urgently, towards a culture change when it comes to the issue of consent among college students”, concluded Bernadette.