News and Views

UCC launches Bystander Intervention programme

27 Jan 2019
UCC students today pasted a mural, which tackles rape myths and normalized everyday abuse, to the wall of the Boole Library. Photo: Clare Keogh.

University College Cork will launch its online Bystander Intervention programme on Monday (January 28) at a conference to be attended by the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Led by Dr Louise Crowley of the School of Law, UCC has piloted its workshop-based bystander intervention programme for two years with law, nursing and midwifery, and applied psychology students, compelling them to consider and act on their shared responsibilities in building a culture of zero tolerance to prevent and combat sexual harassment and violence, both on and off campus.

“The issue of sexual violence and harassment, unwanted advances and unsolicited abusive comments is a deeply ingrained societal poison and one which is no less prevalent amongst third level students,” Dr Crowley said.

“Through initiatives such as the bystander intervention programme we can create an environment which demands an awareness of the unacceptability of all such behaviour and in turn educate our students to recognise their capacity to effect cultural change, to empower them to recognise the problem, to speak up as part of a collective voice, and to reject any attempt to normalise violence and harassment.”

The new online platform will make the programme available to all 22,000 students at UCC, to develop an understanding of the key issue of consent and the boundaries surrounding sexual assault, rape and abusive relationships. 

As part of the University’s inaugural Bystander Intervention Week, UCC will unveil a mural on Monday, aimed at challenging the prevalence of sexual assault among students at third level.

The mural, which tackles rape myths and normalized everyday abuse and is part of the National Women’s Council of Ireland’s national It Stops Now campaign, will be pasted to the wall of the Boole Library by students at noon.

The Bystander Intervention programme connects to UCC’s Strategic plan, premised upon the core values of the university, including equality, respect and integrity, and serves to empower and upskill students to safely intervene and demand a safer campus and society with zero tolerance for verbal and physical sexual harassment.

“The Bystander Intervention programme at UCC empowers and upskills students to safely intervene and demand a safer campus and society with a zero tolerance of sexual harassment, in all its forms, both verbal and physical. It develops a culture of positive responsibility and support within a visible institutional culture which stands against unacceptable behaviour and abuse,” said Professor John O’Halloran, Deputy President and Registrar, UCC.

The schedule for the conference, which will take place at the Creative Zone in the Boole Library from 10:00-12:00, is here.


For more on this story contact:

Lynne Nolan, Media & PR Officer, UCC: 087 210 1119 or

University College Cork

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