DPR News

UCC's Bystander Intervention Programme has national impact

23 Mar 2020

UCC's Bystander intervention module, first piloted in 2016/17 has become sector-leading approach to addressing the issue of sexual harassment and violence across Irish HEIs.

The UCC Bystander intervention module, first piloted here in 2016/17 addresses students’ understanding of the bystander role in the context of unwanted sexual advances, harassment and violence and though skills-based learning, empowers them to act as pro social bystanders, to speak out and demand a zero-tolerance approach to such unacceptable behaviour. It educates students about their capacity to adopt a collective and overt stance and to effect real change amongst the student body.

In 2018/19 the bystander intervention module was transitioned to an online platform and is now available to all UCC students. At orientation 2019, every incoming first year student at UCC attended a 30-minute presentation on the programme.

The Bystander Intervention module in UCC is recognised as a sector-leading approach to addressing the issue of sexual harassment and violence across Irish HEIs. Dr Louise Crowley, Director of the Bystander Intervention programme at UCC was a member of the Minister’s Consent Expert Group that developed the Framework for Consent, and the bystander programme is expressly identified as an initiative of particular significance in informing the Framework recommendations and the supporting institutional obligations.

This view is further evidenced by the Minister’s allocation of funding to support the roll-out of the Bystander Intervention online programme across all Irish HEIs to facilitate each institution achieving its Framework obligations in respect of introducing targeted initiatives for its students. Given the enormity of the issue of sexual harassment and violence and its devastating impact on those affected, we at UCC have agreed to share our programme in order to contribute in a meaningful way to the safety of third level students across Ireland.

UCC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 promotes values of respect, responsiveness, equality, transparency, integrity and creativity. By developing students’ capacity to effect change through pro-social behaviour and attitudes, the programme contributes to the University's commitment to the delivery of strong student-focused support services and holistic learning opportunities, which address students’ physical, psychological, spiritual, social, cultural, educational and welfare needs.

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