The ‘It Stops Now’ campaign was officially launched yesterday as part of the Europe-wide ESHTE (Ending Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Third Level Education) initiative, backed by the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Union of Students of Ireland and student unions.
Third-level institutions including Dublin City University, University College Cork, and University College Dublin have also lent official support.
Jennifer McCarthy Flynn, ESHTE project coordinator, said it was expected Trinity College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology will join them.
Dr Louise Crowley, senior lecturer in family law in UCC, spoke at the launch about a pilot ‘bystander intervention’ project for law students, which began last September.
She hoped the programme, which carries academic credits, could be expanded to other areas of the university and said a similar programme would be beneficial at secondary school level.
“If they know at 14 or 15 you can’t make rape jokes, I think they will learn something valuable,” she said. “At second level, the seeds are being sown and there is a wonderful opportunity to give that positive message.”
Figures show more than 30% of students reported feeling sexually harassed or intimidated while 16% had experienced some form of unwanted sexual attention.