Page created by Julian Richards
Foreword                                                                                                1
Dedication                                                                                              3
Who We Are: Active* Consent Programme Overview                                                          4
Introduction: How To Use This Toolkit                                                                   6
Part I: Making Your Action Plan for the Consent Framework
1.   Why Do We All Need To Be Active* On Consent?:
     A Wider Irish Higher Education and Policy Context                                                 10
2.   How do I achieve effective engagement with the Consent Framework through my Action Plan?:
     A Quick Guide for Students, Staff and College Leadership                                          16
3.   True and False: Fact Check on Engaging with the Consent Framework and Action Plan                 20
Part II: Active* Consent’s Vision for Consent Education
4.   Our Key Message: Active* Consent is OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual and Freely-Given)                       28
5.   Active* Consent’s Programme Offerings 2020-2021                                                   34
6.   Active* Consent Online How-to: Frequently asked questions about our social media                  46
     campaigns and how to get your institution involved
7.   Taking it Forward: How to Work With Us                                                            48
Part III: Spotlights on Active* Consent Research and Programming
8. Spotlight on Active* Consent Research: What the numbers tell us about young peoples’
    real attitudes to positive, active consent in the move from secondary school to college            52
9. Spotlight on Collaboration: Active* Consent and Rape Crisis Network Ireland                         64
10. Spotlight on the Active* Consent Workshops: From in-person to blended                              66
11. Spotlight on The Kinds Of Sex You Might Have At College:
    An Original Drama based on Active* Consent Research Data                                           70
Part IV: Further Resources
12. Breaking it Down: Basic Consent and Sexuality Definitions                                          76
13. Consent and Sexuality Terms as Gaeilge                                                             74
14. Other Irish Programmes and Resources                                                               82
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                              THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                                                                        It is clear that there is a critical need    Ireland has the opportunity to put in
                                                                        throughout our society to address sexual     place world leading systems for consent
ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT:                                                violence and harassment and to promote
                                                                        positive, active consent. I believe the
                                                                        higher education sector can play a

                                                                                                                     education – to prevent violence and
                                                                                                                     promote healthy development –
                                                                                                                     alongside supports for people who
DEVELOPING A CONSENT STRATEGY FOR                                       leadership role and, as befits a sector
                                                                        founded on knowledge generation,
                                                                        do so based on a comprehensive

                                                                                                                     are affected by sexual violence and
YOUR HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION                                       understanding of the issue, led by
                                                                        research and dialogue. I welcome the
                                                                        publication of the Active* Consent

                                                                                                                     It is encouraging that many of the
                                                                                                                     actions taken in recent years have
                                                                                                                     come from our higher education sector,
                                                                        Toolkit: Developing a Consent Strategy       in partnership with student advocacy
                                                                        for Your Higher Education Institution, as    and specialised NGO input. Such
                                                                        a further step toward research-based         developments increase the sector’s
                                                                        implementation of the aims of the            capacity to respond to consent, sexual
                                                                        Consent Framework.                           violence, and harassment. Several of
                                                                                                                     these were recognised in the Consent
                                                                        The importance of statistical information    Framework, including the Active* Consent
                                                                        on sexual violence and harassment was        programme, the Bystander Initiative,
                                                                        demonstrated by the Active* Consent          and the ESHTE initiative which has more
                                                                        and Union of Students in Ireland Sexual      recently developed into the National
                                                                        Experiences Survey (SES) published earlier   Advisory Committee. Such initiatives
                                                                        this year. This revealing survey increased   enable colleges to draw on standard,
                                                                        our understanding, pointing the way to       research-based initiatives, and provide a
                                                                        a model of ongoing research on campus        forum for sharing best practice, learning,
                                                                        – which will ensure we understand what       and meeting mutual challenges.
                                                                        is happening to students and how
                                                                        well-supported they are in their college     As one of the many challenges posed
                                                                        experience. I have also committed to         by Covid-19, educational programmes
                                                                        a further survey, recognising the need       typically now require an online as well as
                                                                        for further research in the field, for       in-person presence. The research tells
                                                                        example work that sheds light on the         us that face-to-face engagement is
                                                                        stories behind these figures, and on         important for impactful learning about
                                                                        the experiences of HEI staff – both as       consent and sexual violence. In time this
                                                                        supporters of students and as individuals    opportunity will return, yet the Active*
                                                                        who may themselves have experienced          Consent Toolkit steps up to the challenge
                                                                        violence and/or harassment.                  of the current moment by supporting
                                                                                                                     colleges with critical resources for a
                                                                        That continually improving understanding     programme of online engagement and
                                                                        must be reflected in ongoing, sustainable    strategic development that extends
                                                                        systems of measurement, monitoring           throughout the year. The Toolkit has
                                                                        and evaluation. This ability aligns with     been designed for the needs of all
                                                                        our shared goal of addressing consent,       groups of students. It shows how complex
                                                                        sexual violence, and harassment –            messages can be expressed through
                                                                        providing regular updates from the sector,   simple principles and engaging learning
                                                                        enabling targets to be set, demonstrating    techniques, presented as an empowering
                                                                        best practice and evidence of success        narrative of personal confidence, the
                                                                        – and ensuring there is an evidence          willingness to speak out, respect for
                                                                        base for strategic dialogue with colleges    others, and an awareness of supports
                                                                        around the country.                          and services.
ii                                                                                                                                                                 1
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                              THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
The Active* Consent Toolkit is reflective of   To all the students and staff at HEIs
a change in how we think about consent         across Ireland who have helped
and its relationship to sexual violence and    us develop our programming and
harassment. This is fitting because it is a    research as well as those within the
moment of change in our society on the         secondary schools and sports sectors,
issue of sexual violence and harassment.       our colleagues across the NGO and
                                               activist sector working to end sexual
There is a growing awareness of the            violence, and all survivors everywhere.
problem, its causes and the impact it has
on survivors and their supporters. I am
conscious of the struggle and pain that
many of our young people experience
as a result of sexual violence and
harassment. The experience of survivors
should be our guiding light as we engage
in the work of establishing a culture of
positive, active consent.
There is also a growing realisation that
our societal institutions are critical
settings for delivering on the changes we
all want to see. The culture and systems
of our Higher Education institutions
can become a national strength and
example – if our enhanced understanding
of the issue, the greater availability of
programmes, enhanced policies and
monitoring are matched by an openness
among all of us to be part of a culture of
Minister Simon Harris T.D.,
Minister for Further & Higher Education,
Research, Innovation & Science.
2                                                                                                                 3
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                              THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                              Goal:                                               Research-based:
                              To mainstream effective, relevant, engaging,        Each resource we develop is based on
                              practical and feasible consent education and        unique Irish research evidence assembled
                              skills training with 16-24 year olds, building on   by Active* Consent and published in 5
                              a base of research on needs and experiences,        research reports since 2014. The evidence
                              and evaluated through outcomes and impact.          base is combined with our ethos, goals,
                                                                                  and extensive experience in sexual
                              Ethos:                                              health education. We are supported by
                                                                                  partnerships with external expert groups
                              Our ethos is to promote the achievement             who advise on content and student safety:
                              of positive, active consent, while cognisant        · Psychological Counsellors in
                              of the need to address sexual violence                 Higher Education (PCHEI).
                              and harassment. Active* Consent is OMFG             · Galway Rape Crisis Centre (the
                              (ongoing, mutual and freely-given).                    second largest RCC nationally).
                                                                                  ·  Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI).
                              Collaboration:                                      ·  The Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
                              The Active* Consent programme now                   Funding and Organisation:
                              collaborates with nearly all HEIs in Ireland.
                              Our theory of change is that, besides working       Active* Consent is funded from 2019-2023
                              directly with young people, meaningful and          by an award of 1.7 million Euro by Lifes2good
                              sustainable change happens by supporting            Foundation, Rethink Ireland (formerly Social
                              organisations like colleges, schools, and sports    Innovation Fund Ireland), and NUI Galway.
                              organisations to change and develop too.            The funding has enabled us to expand our
                                                                                  engagement with partner organisations
                              Partnership is essential to scale up                across Further / Higher Education, Schools,
                              meaningful education with large cohorts             and Sports Organisations. We used this
                              of young people; e.g., providing training           funding to carry out the SES (2020) survey.
                              and having collaborative arrangements               During 2020 the Department of Education
                              with HEIs, USI, Student Unions, Student             & Skills also supports us with funding.
                              Services, Schools, Sports Organisations
                              and external expert groups.
4                                                                                                                                 5
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                            THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
WE HAVE CREATED THIS TOOLKIT          You will gain a broad introduction to what you
                                      need to know about the Consent Framework
FOR A WIDE COALITION OF OUR           and drafting your HEI’s action plan, as well
                                      as an in-depth look at Active* Consent’s
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION          2020-2021 programming as well as a deeper
                                      introduction to our research and unique vision
(HEI) PARTNERS WHO WORK               for consent education.
TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES              We also explicitly intend this toolkit as an
IN THE SEXUAL HEALTH AND              expansion resource for those who have
                                      engaged with our programming in the
WELL-BEING OF STUDENTS.               past, particularly those we have trained to
                                      deliver our Active* (formerly SMART) Consent
IT IS AIMED AT:                       This toolkit expands on key areas that we do
• UNIVERSITY STAFF AND                not have time to cover in shorter trainings,
                                      including, for example, more depth on our
    ADMINISTRATORS INCLUDING          most recent research findings such as those
                                      investigating the connection between our
    ACADEMIC AND SUPPORT STAFF        work in colleges and the secondary school
• STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES             sector’s needs for consent education.
    WORKING WITH THEIR STUDENT        You can read this toolkit straight through or
                                      jump between sections to find out what you
    UNIONS, SOCIETIES, OR ON BEHALF   need to know about the wider HEI context
                                      in which Active* Consent works, or how you
    OF THEIR ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES     might interact with our resources or those of
• THE WIDER COMMUNITY INCLUDING       our colleagues in your community.
    EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS SUCH        There are also general information sections
                                      that anyone can use to direct students/
    AS THE RAPE CRISIS MOVEMENT,      peers to local resources, familiarise yourself
                                      with our key Active* Consent research
    ADVOCACY GROUPS, AND              findings or that someone might make use
    POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION            of as handouts to introduce key consent
                                      definitions and concepts to others quickly as
                                      they advocate for the Consent Framework’s
                                      ongoing sustainability within and across your
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THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                            THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                              NATIONAL POLICY FOR HEIS ON CONSENT,              The Framework describes the need for culture
                                                                                change, re-designing procedural systems,
                              SEXUAL VIOLENCE, AND HARASSMENT HAS               and mainstreaming targeted knowledge
                              BEEN TRANSFORMED BY THE ‘CONSENT                  and skills initiative. Colleges are recognised
                                                                                to be complex organisations, which require
                              FRAMEWORK’ – SAFE, RESPECTFUL,                    support to achieve appropriate structures and
                              SUPPORTIVE AND POSITIVE: ENDING                   processes – yet at the same time having the
                                                                                potential to achieve excellence and become
                              SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IN                 a leading point of reference for other parts of
                              IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS,              our society.
                              LAUNCHED IN APRIL 2019. DESIGNED BY               The Framework recognises that the work
                              AN EXPERT GROUP CONVENED BY THE                   involved in delivering the educational
                                                                                programming to deliver on this vision is
                              MINISTER OF STATE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION,           “ongoing, multi-faceted and comprehensive
                              THE ETHOS OF THE CONSENT FRAMEWORK
                                                                                – encompassing support for positive, healthy
                                                                                relationships and prevention of negative
                              IS FOR THE THIRD LEVEL EDUCATION                  experiences, addressing the role of alcohol
                              SECTOR TO ADOPT VISIBLE, TRANSPARENT,             / drugs, and gender” (p. 17). It describes
                                                                                how workshops and ongoing messaging are
                              CONSISTENT, AND STUDENT-CENTERED                  important tools to ensure all students receive
                              STRATEGIES ON CONSENT, SEXUAL VIOLENCE
                                                                                the support they need.
                              AND HARASSMENT.                                   The organisational development promoted
                                                                                through the Consent Framework and
                              It is a framework in the sense of identifying     associated student / staff-facing initiatives
                              key goals that require the engagement of all      are intended as steps to help achieve the
                              stakeholders – including students, Students’
                                                                                vision for students at Irish HEIs to have:
                              Unions, and other advocacy and campaigning        • Understanding, confidence, and capacity
                              groups, staff across all academic,                    for active consent, at a personal level and
                              administrative, support and research roles, HEI       in supporting peers.
                              management and governance systems, NGOs           • Skills and agency for confident reporting
                              such as Rape Crisis Centres, the HEA, and the         / support seeking for sexual harassment,
                              Department of Further Education & Higher              sexual assault, and rape.
                              Education, Research, Innovation & Science.        • Awareness of equality and diversity, the
                                                                                    impact of gender role expectations, and
                              The policy was influenced by U.S. research and        contextual factors such as alcohol and
                              models that highlight the importance of taking        drug use.
                              an ecological, whole of campus approach. It       • Knowledge and capacity to challenge
                              also embraced the WHO definition of sexual            any perceived normalisation of unwanted
                              health that states:                                   sexual comments or behaviour.
                                 “Sexual health requires a positive and         Given the acceptance of a whole of campus
                                 respectful approach to sexuality and           approach in the Framework, there is also a
                                 sexual relationships, as well as the           recognition that staff awareness, education
                                 possibility of having pleasurable and          and training is integral to the work that
                                 safe sexual experiences, free of coercion,     takes place. Staff should be supported to
                                 discrimination and violence.”                  “understand and engage with the institutional
                                                                                initiatives on active consent, sexual
                              This definition values positive rights to         harassment, sexual assault, and rape” (p. 17)
                              development and expression alongside the          and have the skills to support students.
                              right to have personal rights respected.
                                                                                At an organisational level, HEIs will assess the
                              Accordingly, the Framework has a nuanced          effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken.
                              approach, recognising the need to support         Colleges will also support student disclosure
                              young adults with sexual decision making          and complaints systems, alongside counselling
                              conducive to positive, respectful intimacy,       and advocacy. These services will have a
                              while setting out to tackle the problem           trauma-informed mode of delivery.
                              of sexual violence and harassment. All
                              stakeholders in the HEI environment are           Programmes and structures – How it is being
                              directed to address both facets of sexual         progressed and will be progressed
                              experience, to realise the potential of the
                              college setting to shape attitudes, skills, and   The Framework provides a clear roadmap for
                              capabilities during the unique developmental      achieving the goal of supporting students
                              experience of attending college.                  and staff, however it has been released as a
                                                                                policy in a context where there is relatively
10                                                                                                                               11
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                                                           THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
little specialisation and dedicated capacity         methodology – which supports an ecological,         While there is considerable work remaining to          Steps should be taken by appropriate
within HEIs for the range of areas that it           whole of campus perspective on consent,             achieve the vision set out in the Framework,           government departments and other state
addresses. In planning how to promote its            sexual violence and harassment. It also             it should be acknowledged that the policy is           agencies to ensure that education and
full implementation, it is critical to assess the    reflected the need for collaboration in order       recognised to be highly progressive. A 2020            awareness programmes on consent are
capability that currently exists, what progress      to achieve a joint goal, bringing together          report from the European Research Area &               available in all second and third level
has been made in recent years, and what              expertise from the Active*Consent research          Innovation Committee has identified it as              educational institutions (p. 30).
supports are now needed to fully adopt its           team with the Union of Students in Ireland.         a leading example of policy development
recommendations.                                                                                         to support gender equality in academia in           Recent developments in the post-primary
                                                     A range of measures are being further               Europe (Standing Working Group on Gender            sector align with the findings of the O’Malley
As independent centres of learning, all              developed at present. The Irish Universities        in Research and Innovation). The urgency now        Report, and set up the opportunity for
colleges have significant autonomy and               Association recently published guidance             apparent in following through on the promise        Framework implementation to be developed
flexibility. These are valued characteristics that   for universities on investigating misconduct        of the Framework is likely to engage colleges       as an integrated approach to consent
can enable new practices and procedures to           (‘Guidance for Universities on How to Respond       fully in the process. At the same time, it is       education that spans both schools and
be adopted relatively rapidly. Indeed, much          to Alleged Staff or Student Misconduct              critical that these efforts are guided by a clear   colleges. Reform of the Relationship and
positive development on consent has taken            Sexual Misconduct’). The National Advisory          sense of the resources and capacity required        Sexuality Education (RSE) for Irish Primary
place in the past five years, demonstrating the      Committee set up by the National Women’s            to achieve the required outcomes.                   and Post-Primary schools is underway
possibility for sectoral change. The Consent         Council provides a forum for multiple                                                                   with associated research already in place
Framework highlighted the Active* Consent            stakeholders to share their knowledge and           Consent Framework in Context: Justice and           (Keating, Morgan, & Collins, 2018; Nolan, 2018;
programme, the National Women’s Council,             learning. These are illustrative of a groundswell   Education Initiatives                               NCCA, 2019). The emerging consensus is for
and the Bystander Initiative as making               of leadership, policies, and monitoring now                                                             a whole-school based approach to RSE
significant contributions so far, which can          emerging.                                           The implementation of the Consent                   (Nolan, 2018), grounded in a sex-positive,
assist further in the process of positive change                                                         Framework is taking place in the context of         holistic curriculum. Schools and colleges have
in the sector.                                       Such measures must be combined with                 wider Government action that spans several          a shared experience of lacking specialised
                                                     student and staff initiatives, new reporting        different departments. These developments           roles for staff to support such developments,
Further support came from the Department of          and investigation mechanisms for sexual             are in themselves reflective of a societal shift    arising from limited professional development
Education and Skills in 2020 through a scheme        violence to truly transform how HEIs                toward acknowledgement of sexual violence           opportunities, resourcing, and priority in the
to fund Consent Framework implementation             respond. The roadmap for student initiatives        and the promotion of active consent. The            curriculum.
projects. The funding scheme supported a             includes awareness of positive, active              O’Malley Report for the Department of Justice
number of information and education projects         consent alongside confidence in calling out         & Equality has focused on the investigation         A comprehensive report in 2019 from
alongside policy development initiatives that        inappropriate behaviours. The intention is          and prosecution of sexual offences. It              the National Council for Curriculum and
will stimulate enhanced capacity and learning        for these initiatives to be supported through       concludes that, in the wider context, there         Assessment highlighted the potential for
across the sector. The Report & Support              workshops and classes, online strategies, and       is a clear need for enhanced preventative           teachers to occupy a central role in the
project, led by the body of Psychological            ongoing work for cultural change. Despite           work through information campaigns for              delivery of effective RSE. School students
Counsellors in Higher Education in Ireland           the guidance of the Consent Framework,              members of the public and which could link          expressed support for their teachers having
(PCHEI), uses anonymous, online reporting            and the development of programmes and               with key societal institutions including schools    specialist knowledge and training to perform
as a strategy with several applications –            policy development, work still needs to             and colleges. The Report highlighted that,          this role, placing particular value on teacher
to prompt organisational reflection and              be completed to achieve the aims of the             in line with the WHO definition of sexual           openness, non-judgemental attitudes, and
prioritisation, provide survivors of sexual          Framework, which will require a collaborative       health, “sexual autonomy therefore entails          confidence in the role. The acknowledgement
violence and harassment with a further choice        approach between HEI management, Student            two complementary freedoms: the freedom             of both needs – to promote positive sexual
in communicating their experience, and as            Services, Students Unions, academics,               to engage and the freedom to refuse” (p.            health and development while informing
an additional input to yearly reporting and          programme designers, and researchers.               29). While noting the progress made in third        students about non-consent – is again shared
monitoring of progress.                                                                                  level colleges through consent education            between the Consent Framework and NCCA
                                                     Balancing institutional autonomy with the           programmes, the report concludes that there         conclusions.
The Consent Framework highlights the                 adoption of best practice will be an important      is more work to do in colleges and elsewhere
importance of research as a means to                 task for all colleges. Working with the HEA,        to ensure that all members of society know the      The attention paid to post-primary sexual
assess implementation and promote high               the Department of Further and Higher                legal definition of consent:                        health education sheds light on the
quality responses. The importance of the             Education, Research, Innovation and Science                                                             experience of students entering college –
information gathering function of research           is prompting HEIs to engage in this planning           Section 9 of the Criminal Law (Rape)             Active* Consent research shows that they are
was demonstrated by the Sexual Experiences           by requiring an Action Plan by early 2021. The         (Amendment) Act 1990, inserted by s. 48          largely dissatisfied with their sexual health
Survey (SES), which provided a comprehensive         institutional Action Plan is based on the key          of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act        education at school, particularly on healthy
oversight of patterns of experiences of              outcomes from the Consent Framework, and               2017, provides: A person consents to a           relationships and consent. As advised by the
non-consenting sexual activity and sexual            will address key areas such as:                        sexual act if he or she freely and voluntarily   American College Health Association (2016),
harassment, using internationally validated          • Systems for recording incidents and                  agrees to engage in that act. (p. 28).           the existing knowledge, attitudes and skills
measures. The first report from the SES was               reporting on these.                                                                                of target groups must be taken into account
published in June 2020 (Burke et al., 2020),         • Policy development – Including integration        The O’Malley Report states that it is critical      when designing student-facing targeted
focused on providing information on the                   of policies within organisational systems.     that everyone has an understanding of the           initiatives for the college setting – meeting
incidence of sexual violence and harassment,         • Culture change – HEI leadership and               legal definition, and the conditions that mean      students where they currently are in their
and student perceptions of college supports.              working group, partnership with external       the person is not capable of giving consent         learning about health sexual development.
Further reports from it due to explore the                groups.                                        – in relation to intoxication or pressure for
psychosocial and peer-related factors that           • Targeted initiatives – Student and staff          instance, which feature prominently in Active*      In addition, there is a similarity in conclusions
help to explain these patterns.                           education programmes; support services         Consent research on consent with young              between schools and colleges – where the
                                                          incorporating disclosure, reporting,           people. The Report recommends a public              third level sector has adopted the Consent
The online survey was completed by 6,026                  and counselling in a trauma-informed           education campaign on consent, addressing           Framework, parallels can be seen in the call
students at 13 HEIs in spring 2020. It was one            approach.                                      schools and colleges as key settings:               at post-primary level for clear curriculum
of the first examples outside the U.S. of the                                                                                                                guidelines and a whole of institution ethos,
use of the ARC3 Campus Climate survey                                                                                                                        informed by consultation with stakeholders,
12                                                                                                                                                                                                               13
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                                                            THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
interagency collaboration, and an opening           •   Policy development including review of        The integration of awareness, education, and training in an institutional plan for addressing
up of opportunities for ongoing professional            policies that support staff and students      consent, sexual violence and harassment.
development to support the capacity to                  who report sexual harassment or violence,
deliver on reform.                                      including research on awareness among
                                                        staff and students of choices for seeking
Supporting Action Plans – Staff and                     support and engaging in anonymous or
Organisational Development                              named reporting.                                                         Sharing of learning,         Ongoing scholarship            National research
                                                    •   Integration of initiatives at institutional      Collaboration            training and best
Given the priorities to be addressed in the             level to ensure a sustainable,
                                                                                                                                  practice between            and dissemination of            and standards
institutional Action Plans that will be devised         programmatic approach to organisational          between HEIs                                          research findings               development
by early 2021 in each HEI, there is a need to           change and development.                                                      institutions
identify how the priorities will be supported       •   Institutional research – on objective
by specific plans, actions, and processes. As           measures of engagement with targeted
noted above, the priorities for Action Plans are:       initiatives, organisational impact and
• Systems for recording incidents and                   effectiveness, case studies, and monitoring                                                               Sustainability                Support /
    reporting on these.                                 of different sources of data on sexual
                                                                                                           Supports               Acknowledgement                plan, including           supervision for those
• Policy development – Including integration            violence and harassment.                                                 and support for staff          partnership with            engaged in consent
    of policies within organisational systems.      •   Establishing or enhancing partnerships            within HEIs                contribution              external specialised        education / staff and
• Culture change – HEI leadership and                   with external groups and organisations.
    working groups, partnership with external       •   Participation in national initiatives                                                                        groups                  student support
    groups.                                             including research and systems
• Targeted initiatives – Student and staff              development.
    education programmes; support services          •   Integration with related programming                                       Validated             Short course       Short course            Validated
    incorporating disclosure, reporting,                for shared learning and opportunities –           Training for              training               training -                                training
    and counselling in a trauma-informed                such as mental health, drugs and alcohol
                                                                                                          roles within             modules -              supporting          training               modules
    approach.                                           educational programming and supports.
                                                                                                                                  supporting                 staff /         - Consent              - Consent
                                                                                                              HEIs                                                           education
Each HEI is likely to engage in a programme of      Some of these tasks will involve consultancy,                               staff / students           students                                 education
staff and organisational development that will      training, or service provision from specialised
enable systems and processes for reporting,         services, potentially as an ongoing feature
policies, cultural change, and targeted             or at least during an initial phase. The
initiatives. As with other non-specialised          integration of awareness, education and
settings such as schools, novel demands and
opportunities will arise for HEIs when ensuring
                                                    training for students and staff will be made
                                                    sustainable by building capacity within HEIs,
                                                                                                         Higher levels                 Ongoing information                            Briefings, seminars
sustainable delivery of this programme of           with resourcing required for assimilation and        of awareness                      campaigns                                      and events
activity – some of which are likely to be           acknowledgement of duties into workload
institutionally-specific, while others will be      planning.
shared across the sector or groups of colleges.
                                                    There is clearly scope to incorporate many of
The following areas could require particular        the key roles to support Consent Framework
support as HEI engage in a journey of cultural      implementation in the development of a
                                                                                                          Basic level                 Awareness of all staff -                    Awareness of all staff -
change and systems development leading to           Campus Coordinator role, who can lead the
                                                                                                                                  Communication skills, supports               Knowledge of consent, sexual
all members of the college community being          necessary work on an applied level, linking to       of awareness              and services, college policies                violence and harassment
appropriately informed and skilled responders       other college resources, community partners,
on consent, sexual violence, and harassment:        national standards and programmes. Given
• Briefings and training for institutional          there is an overlap in ethos and the use of
    consent framework implementation                similar educational programming strategies, a
    groups, key influencers and change              joined up approach with mental health, drugs,
    leaders.                                        and alcohol initiatives should also be explored
• Consolidation of training programmes              as part of a wider commitment to supporting
    for staff and students involved in              students with a substantial programme for
    consent education, cultural change, and         transition to college and student success.
    signposting for disclosures.
• Ongoing support for staff and students
    involved in providing education or other
• Consolidation of a year-long programme
    of student and staff initiatives, including
    planning, implementation, evaluation, and
    ongoing development.
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THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                     THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                              THE CONSENT FRAMEWORK SETS
                              DIFFERENT AIMS FOR DIFFERENT GROUPS
                              DEPENDING ON THEIR NEEDS WITHIN
                              THE HEI SECTOR: STUDENTS, STAFF AND
                              COLLEGE LEADERSHIP. THESE AIMS HAVE
                              BEEN FURTHER REINFORCED BY MINISTER
                              FOR HIGHER EDUCATION SIMON HARRIS’
                              MANDATE FOR EACH HEI INSTITUTION TO
                              PRODUCE AN ACTION PLAN FOR TACKLING
                              SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT ON
                              THEIR CAMPUS.
                              You need to identify what the group within
                              your HEI needs to learn or achieve in order to
                              satisfy the Consent Framework and prepare
                              for contribution to your HEI’s submission of an
                              action plan.
                              Once you know that, you can continue or
                              begin acting to increase understanding of
                              consent on your campus and end sexual
                              violence and harassment through the drafting
                              and implementation of a strong action plan
                              and provision of regular, sustainable consent
                              education programming.
                              Regardless of your role, this task will always
                              involve collaboration between students, staff
                              and college leadership. Our Quick Guide
                              outlines what is involved for each of these
16                                                                                                       17
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                            THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
STUDENTS                                           COLLEGE LEADERSHIP
The Consent Framework’s aim is that they:          The Consent Framework’s aim is to ensure:
• Have knowledge and skills for achieving          • There are policies, monitoring, resourcing,
   mutual consent in their relationships              and leadership in place to ensure
• Have an understanding of what is meant              sustainable and effective support.
   by harassment, assault, and sexual
   misconduct,                                     Minister Harris has reinforced this by
• Feel skilled in influencing others around        mandating an Action Plan from all HEIs to fulfill
   them                                            the Framework.
• Identify college and community support
   services as accessible and welcoming            In order to achieve this, college leadership
•  Know how to report incidents of sexual          must:
   misconduct.                                     • Engage partners including Active* Consent
                                                       or the UCC Bystander Intervention
In order to achieve this, students might:              Programme to offer on-campus or online
• Work with college staff or leadership                programming. With Active* Consent, you
    to engage partners including Active*               can also avail of ongoing messaging to the
    Consent, or the UCC Bystander                      student body, through your student union
    Intervention Programming to offer on-              and working with college leadership.
    campus or online programming. With             • Convene an inclusive on-campus working
    Active* Consent, you can also gain access          group to draft your HEI’s action plan
    to ongoing messaging campaigns that                with key management, staff and student
    can be tailored to your needs.                     stakeholders. In putting together this
• Liaise with on-campus support services               group, bear in mind the importance of
    including health, counselling, etc. to unify       ensuring a diversity of representation (as
    and make prominent advertisement of on-            defined by sexual orientation, gender
    campus sexual health and violence related          identity, race/ethnicity, international
                                                                                                       OF STUDENTS SAID
    supports.                                          vs. Irish student status as well as rank
• Liaise with local partners including rape            or position within the university.) For our
    crisis centres and Gardaí to unify and             Action Plans to be meaningful, they must
    make prominent advertisement of off-               serve those on the front lines of supporting
    campus sexual health and violence related          students as well as take into account the
                                                                                                       THEY THOUGHT
    supports and reporting mechanisms.                 differential needs of our student body and
STAFF                                              • Develop coalitions across the university
                                                       and with external partners including local
                                                       rape crisis centres and Gardaí to draft,
The Consent Framework’s aim is that they:
                                                       implement and evaluate clear reporting
                                                                                                       THAT THE COLLEGE
• Have a basic understanding of consent
                                                       mechanisms whether based on campus or
   and non-consent,
                                                       in the local community
• That some staff are trained to effectively
                                                   • Make appropriate budget provisions to
   listen and offer guidance on next steps for
                                                       support sustainable consent framework
   support, if a student or colleague made a
                                                       initiatives as well as the immediate delivery
                                                                                                       WOULD RESPOND TO
                                                       of Minister Harris’s Action Plan for your
In order to achieve this, staff at a discipline/
school or college level might:
• Engage partners including Active* Consent
                                                                                                       A REPORT OF SEXUAL
    or the UCC Bystander Intervention
    Programme to offer programming including
    eLearning interventions, workshops, or
    special events on your campus. With
    Active* Consent, you can also gain access
                                                                                                       MISCONDUCT FAIRLY
    to ongoing messaging campaigns that
    can be tailored to your needs.
• Take advantage of staff training by Active*
    Consent or other partners including your
    local rape crisis centre or your own on-
                                                                                                       AND RESPECTFULLY.
    campus units including student health
    or counselling on supporting student
• Contribute to university working groups or
    task forces on creating an Action Plan for
    your HEI at school.
18                                                                                                                                             19
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                              I’m a staff member. If a student discloses to        But if I’m an academic/administrator, it’s not
                              me, doesn’t that mean I’m fully responsible for      my job to handle these kinds of disclosures.
                              making sure they follow through and get help         I’m not prepared, and I might say the wrong
                              and report?                                          thing.
FACT CHECK ON                 Firstly, not all survivors will approach recovery
                              in the same ways. You are not responsible for
                              ensuring they take particular actions- either

                                                                                   It is true that universities are not rape crisis
                                                                                   centres or sexual assault treatment units, and
                                                                                   you are not expected to behave as if they
                              suggesting them or following up to make sure         are. We have given you a national list of non-
                              they have done so.                                   university contacts in this area at the end of
                                                                                   this toolkit.
                              Instead, here are some brief steps for handling
                              a disclosure.                                        However, given the intensive nature of a
                              1. Tell them you believe them.them Opening up        higher education experience and the time of
                                  about a negative sexual experience isn’t         life people typically pursue their education,
                                  easy, so reassure the person that you            which statistically have been connected to
                                  believe them and are there to support and        higher incidents of sexual violence, you may
                                  listen.                                          hear a disclosure. And if you do, it makes
                              2. Really listen to the person disclosing to you.
                                                                             you   sense to be prepared to respond sensitively
                                  Follow their lead- they might just tell you      while maintaining appropriate boundaries. A
                                  a little bit, or they may need to tell you the   very real reaction can be for you to express
                                  whole story. The best thing you can do is        anger against the perpetrator, a desire to
                                  listen without judgement. Don’t rush them        seek retribution or shock at hearing details of
                                  into sharing the whole story if they don’t       a negative incident, all of which can actually
                                  want to.                                         make the whole situation worse for the person
                              3. Focus on their feelings.
                                                     feelings Remember to listen   disclosing and may re-traumatise them or
                                  and focus on their feelings instead of your      shut them down.
                              4. Ask “What do you want to do next?” What           There is some language in the previous
                                  happens next should be their choice, and         answer to use before directing a student on
                                  they might not know what they want to do         to other resources if you ever do experience a
                                  right away. Pushing them to take action          disclosure.
                                  can be disempowering and traumatizing
                                  for them, and this is not your job as
                                  someone working in higher education.
                              5. Direct them towards support services.
                                  Remind them that you are not a counsellor,
                                  but that there are qualified people on
                                  campus and in the community who can
                                  help including: Student Counselling,
                                  Student Health Centre, SU Welfare Office,
                                  Chaplaincy, Rape Crisis Centre, Sexual
                                  Assault Treatment Unit.
20                                                                                                                                  21
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                                     THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
If we keep pushing consent, aren’t we at risk      becomes evident that their peers are not as          Are we at risk of creating programming for
of making students feel that sex is compulsory     comfortable with this as they think they are         minority of students who have experienced
during their time in college? What about           having casual sex.                                   confusion around sexual consent or sexual
students with religious and/or cultural reasons                                                         violence and losing site of the majority?
for abstaining or who just aren’t ready?           Ultimately, the decision to be sexually active
                                                   in long-term or casual relationships is up to
                                                   the individual and their partner(s). But in order
                                                   to minimise the risks of peer pressure (internal
                                                   or external), our students do need to be
                                                   accurately informed.
                                                                                                        The SES survey revealed that high
We know that in Active* Consent/Union of                                                                percentages of our students are directly
                                                   Doesn’t an issue as complex as consent,
Students in Ireland’s 2020 Sexual Experiences                                                           affected by these issues. If they have not
                                                   sexual assault and rape in university life require
                                                                                                                                                         OF FEMALE
Survey (SES) of 6,026 students, 87% of                                                                  experienced them themselves, it is likely a
                                                   a more holistic approach rather than thinking
respondents reported participating in oral                                                              peer/close friend has.
                                                   we can solve it through a few workshops?
sex, 84% reported vaginal sex, 36% reported
                                                   Won’t individuals need different things?
anal sex, and 49% reported other genital                                                                For example:
                                                                                                                                                         STUDENTS SAID
stimulation or penetration. This means that a                                                           • 29% of females, 10% of males, and 28%
large percentage of our college population is                                                               of non-binary students reported non-
sexually active.                                                                                            consensual penetration through force,
                                                                                                            or threat of force, or while incapacitated
                                                                                                                                                         THE PERPETRATOR
However Active* Consent’s interventions make                                                                and unable to give consent.
clear that sex is not compulsory and that, with    Yes, absolutely.                                     • Just over half of first year students
fuller knowledge, more informed choices can                                                                 reported experiencing sexual harassment
be made now or in the future.                      It is about having consistent messages and               in the form of sexual hostility since
                                                                                                                                                         OF THE SEXUAL
                                                   creating a campus culture of respect and                 beginning college. This rose to 62%
And nevertheless, because of high reported         support for everyone. As we’ve identified,               for second year students, and 66% for
levels of sexual violence and harassment           the work of the Active* Consent programme                undergraduate students in third year or
at HEIs, even if an individual is not sexually     has always depended on a wide range                      higher.
active, they or someone close to them maybe        of stakeholders across the university. We            • Over half of students with a disability
affected directly in some way.                     recognise that a negative sexual experience              reported an experience of sexual
                                                   can affect every aspect of a student’s life, not         misconduct by any tactic (56%),
Ultimately, the goal of both our Consent           limited to academic performance.                         compared with 42% of other students.
Framework and Active* Consent’s
programming is to ensure students’ wellbeing
and safety.
                                                   This means that staff need to be engaged
                                                   with core messages on consent education
                                                   across university units, including basic steps for
                                                                                                                                                         WAS A MAN
But even if they are having sex, aren’t we         handling a disclosure.
pushing them towards having casual sex?sex
                                                   Staff responsible for implementing consent
                                                   framework policies need to collaborate
                                                   with their student union and other student
                                                   representatives, We have heard on the
                                                   ground that students disclosed to by their
                                                   peers feel that they have little or no training
As the above current statistics show, most
                                                   or resources to access about sexual violence
students are sexually active, and just over half
                                                   or harassment with which to respond
stated they were in an exclusive relationship.
However over years of research we have
                                                                                                                                                         OF MALE
                                                   This means, for example, ensuring that
seen consistently that everyone thinks their
                                                   Student Union Welfare Officers receive
peers are having more sex and are more
                                                   adequate training and on-going support
comfortable with casual sexual behaviours
                                                   throughout the year, not just during their initial
than they actually are.
                                                                                                                                                         STUDENTS SAID
                                                   training .
In addition, a common belief is that ‘having
lots of sex’ relates to having many different
sexual partners when surely it also means
having the time and inclination to explore lots
of sexual experiences with one willing partner.
Therefore, providing research-based consent
                                                                                                                                                         THE PERPETRATOR
education highlights many of the social
norm gaps and how such misinformed
beliefs can influence behaviour. Being better
informed helps students strengthen their own
                                                                                                                                                         WAS A WOMAN.
convictions regarding their choice whether or
not to be sexually active; especially when it
22                                                                                                                                                                                      23
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
ACTIVE* CONSENT’S VISION FOR CONSENT                  By working through these factors dialogically
                                                      in our interventions, we empower students to:
EDUCATION                                             • Communicate with their partners and
                                                          friends/peers through an expanded
Building on our years of research and                     consent vocabulary
evaluated interventions across the Irish HEI          • Achieve Confidence in knowledge and
sector, Active* Consent offers the following              skills to navigate consent as OMFG
vision for consent education.                             (ongoing, mutual and freely-given) both
                                                          verbal and non-verbally after gaining fuller
Active* Consent’s programming begins with                 understanding of accurate peer norms and
addressing the individual student and their               accurate legal and other definitions
understanding of consent in order to positively       • Challenge negative and/or non-
impact their ongoing and/or future sexual and             consensual behaviors to advocate
romantic relationships.                                   for themselves within sexual/romantic
                                                          relationships and step up as an Active*
We believe, and our evaluation of our                     Bystander when safe and appropriate to
programming over time evidences, that an                  do so on behalf of friends or peers.
individual’s change in knowledge and skills           • Support others and themselves in being
also increases that person’s capacity in a                able to identify how to access appropriate
supporting and advisory role within friendships           services following a negative sexual
and their wider peer group- a role we now                 experience.
refer to as that of the Active* Bystander.
                                  Romantic / sexual

                                  Wider Peer Group
Active* Consent programming activates
this ripple effect by directly and dialogically
addressing three key interlinked areas in a
college student’s lifetime experience.
                     Cultural Norms/
                  Expectations attached
                                                                                                         OF STUDENTS SAY IT IS
                   to your gender and
                   sexuality/i.e. sexual
          Sexual Education/
                            Peer and Community
                               Norms/How we
                              socialise or think                                                         IMPORTANT TO TALK
                                                                                                         ABOUT CONSENT
           Knowledge and     we should and the
                Gaps        particular conditions
                                of college life
26                                                                                                                                                 27
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                                                                   “YOU SHOULD ALWAYS GET CONSENT BEFORE THE START OF ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITY”
ACTIVE* CONSENT                                                                                                                             84%
                                                                   OF ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITY”
                              84% OF STUDENTS AGREE THAT THEY
                              SHOULD GET CONSENT BEFORE THE
DISCUSS WITH THEIR PARTNERS                                        This disparity is what we call a social          This leads to embarrassed silences where
AND PEERS.                                                         norm gap- the difference between what
                                                                   an individual thinks is important and how
                                                                                                                    people are not being clear with each other
                                                                                                                    about what they want, don’t want or might
                                                                   important they think their peers feel it is.     be willing to try. This increases the chances
                                                                                                                    that things get assumed, or people act on
                                                                   In terms of consent, this could mean that        what they ‘think’ their partner wants, without
                                                                   young people might not discuss consent at all    actively checking in first.
                                                                   with their partners or peers for fear of being
28                                                                                                                                                                 29
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                                THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
PROGRAMME’S SHORT                                  ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE                  “I JUST REALLY WASN’T                             “THEY WERE BOTH
INTRODUCTION TO SEXUAL                             INVOLVED?                              INTO IT, BUT CAN GUYS                             DRINKING. AND THEY
CONSENT.                                                                                  EVEN BE ASSAULTED                                 TOLD THEM THEY HAD
Consent to sexual intimacy can be expressed…           “SHOULD WE REALLY                  BY GIRLS?”                                        A CONDOM.”
VERBALLY OR NONVERBALLY.                               BE DOING THIS AFTER
                                                       SO MANY PINTS?”           OR IF THERE’S A POWER                              This is why we need to practice Active*
                                                                                                                                    Consent with our partners - whether they are:
                 “YES, KEEP GOING”                                               IMBALANCE, OR A COERCIVE OR                        ongoing or new,
                                                                                 ABUSIVE DYNAMIC?
                                                       “I WAS SO OFF MY                                                             female,
*A smile*
                                                       HEAD I DON’T REALLY                                                          trans*,
                                                       REMEMBER.”                                                                   straight or
*A sigh*
                                                                                                “BUT THEY’RE MY
*Hugging someone closer*
                                                                                                MANAGER, AND THIS                   ACTIVE* CONSENT IS OMFG.
*Taking off your clothes*                          WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL/PEER                       FEELS WRONG…”
                                                   EXPECTATIONS OF OUR GENDER                                                       ONGOING.
ACTIVELY                                           AND/OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION?
*Saying yes when someone asks if they can kiss                                            “IF I CAN JUST GET                        MUTUAL.
you or be physically intimate with you*
                                                                                          THIS OVER WITH,
                                                         “WILL HE THINK I’M               THEY’LL LEAVE ME
OR PASSIVELY                                             SLUTTY IF I SEEM LIKE            ALONE FOR A WHILE.”                       FREELY-GIVEN.
*Not pushing someone away when they start to             I’M TOO INTO THIS?”
kiss you or touch you intimately, and kissing or
touching them too*                                                                                                                  It’s ongoing because sexual consent is
                                                                                 Sexual consent is sometimes just seen as           not a once-off in a sex act, a full evening’s
                                                                                 giving a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but it can also be
THIS CAN BE COMPLICATED                                 “I’M REALLY NOT OKAY     far more complicated - especially when you
                                                                                                                                    encounter or a relationship. If someone
                                                                                                                                    consents to one thing, that doesn’t mean
ENOUGH, PARTICULARLY WITH                               DOING THIS WITHOUT A     take into account all these external factors.      they’re consenting to everything, just to that
                                                                                                                                    one thing.
NEW PARTNERS.                                           CONDOM, BUT EVERYONE     This leads to misunderstandings that can
                                                                                 open up grey areas.
                                                        SAYS I’M PARANOID. NO                                                       You or your partner can change your mind at
                                                                                                                                    any time and stop or re-direct what you’re
                                                        ONE IS GOING TO WANT     Misunderstanding can be unintentional, but it
                                                                                 can also be willful.
                                                                                                                                    both doing, even after already saying yes.
      “ARE THEY SMILING TO                              TO HOOK UP WITH ME.”     Misunderstanding can lead to bad and
      BE POLITE, OR DOES                                                         unsatisfying sex, or worse - those grey areas         “I THOUGHT I’D BE INTO
      THAT MEAN THEY’RE                                                          can facilitate opportunities for rape and
                                                                                 sexual assault to occur. They can also be used        THIS BUT I’M NOT, CAN
      INTO IT? INTO ME?”                              “I JUST DON’T AGREE        as justification to blame survivors.                  WE TAKE A BREAK?”
                                                      WITH HER THAT
               “WOW, I DIDN’T EXPECT                  THERE HAS TO BE
               THEM TO PUT THEIR                      PENETRATION FOR US                  “WELL, THEY WENT
                                                                                          HOME WITH THEM, WHAT                                      “CAN WE GO BACK TO
               HANDS DOWN THERE SO                    TO REALLY HAVE SEX.”                                                                          WHAT WE WERE DOING
               QUICK, IS IT TOO LATE TO                                                   DID THEY EXPECT?”                                         BEFORE? I LIKED THAT
               SLOW THINGS DOWN?”                                                                                                                   BETTER.”
30                                                                                                                                                                                   31
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                          THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
“WOW, I DIDN’T                                                                   ACTIVE*
                              It’s mutual
                                   mutual. Both people are really into it and
                              make their feelings clear verbally and/or non-
                              verbally. It shouldn’t be one-sided or simply
                              assumed. Check in, to be sure.
EXPECT THEM                            “THEY LIKED THAT
                                       I WAS COMING ON                           CONSENT
                                                                                 IS ALWAYS
                                       SO STRONG, THEY
                                       WEREN’T SAYING NO,
                                       SO WHY SHOULD I
                                       HAVE STOPPED?”
HANDS DOWN                                  “WHOA, I DIDN’T                      OMFG.
                                                                                 PASS IT
                                            THINK THAT’S WHERE
                                            THIS WAS GOING…”
                              It’s freely-given
                                   freely-given. That means no one feels
                              coerced, pressured, is intentailly manipulated,
                              misled, or is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.
                              Know the Irish law, know your limits
                              and boundaries and check in
                              with your partners on theirs.
                              And you don’t owe sex to anyone, especially
                              not if you feel like you have to do something
                              to stay safe or avoid physical harm.
DOWN?”                                     “THEY SEEM REALLY
                                           OUT OF IT. I DON’T FEEL
                                           RIGHT ABOUT GOING
                                           ON WITH THIS.”
                                   “I’VE DEFINITELY HAD
                                   TOO MUCH TO DRINK.
                                   I’M CALLING IT A
                                                 “I JUST DON’T
                                                 WANT TO MAKE
                                                 THEM ANGRY.”
32                                                                                                           33
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                         THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
                              INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT
                                                                             Six months after attending a workshop, 48% of
                                                                             those students who had attended a consent
                                                                             workshop or related activity said they knew
                              REPEATED ENGAGEMENT WITH CONSENT               how to access supports / services on sexual
                                                                             violence and harassment for themselves or a
                              EDUCATION WITHIN A COMMUNITY ACROSS            friend – compared with 20% of students who
                              THE YEAR AND OVER A STUDENT’S ACADEMIC         had not engaged with any event or initiative.
                              LIFE CYCLE WILL BE THE MOST IMPACTFUL.         Active* Consent 2020-2021 Programme
                              WE HAVE DESIGNED A RANGE OF ACTIVE*            will ensure: at least one hour’s student
                                                                             participation through an online
                              CONSENT PROGRAMME RESOURCES TO                 workshop and self-directed learning;
                              FACILITATE ONGOING ENGAGEMENT WITH             with additional engagement during
                                                                             the year taking place through ongoing
                              EACH COLLEGE COMMUNITY, AND TO
                                                                             messaging provided via social media.
                              WORK IN DIALOGUE WITH OTHER IRISH-
                                                                             This engagement comes through a three-
                              BASED PROGRAMMES’ MATERIAL.                    stage Active* Consent programme:
                              We know that our research-based
                              consent programming is effective as
                              the SES survey (2020) identified that
                              there is a significant impact.
AND CONTENT                            STAGE 1
                                Consent Online

                                                                       STAGE 2
                                                                      An Active*

                                                                                                       STAGE 3
                                                                                                Active* Consent
                                                                      eLearning                      Online
                                                                  Sexual violence and             Social Media and
                                                                  Harassment: How to              Creative Content
                                                                  Support Yourself and              Programme
                                                                      Your Peers
                              Sexual violence and Harassment: How to Support Yourself and Your Peers
34                                                                                                                          35
THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT                                                                                                                                    THE ACTIVE* CONSENT TOOLKIT
This three-stage programme delivers
on the student-centered goals of
the Consent Framework to:

                                                    •   Dramatised video consent scenarios
                                                        presenting students with realistic situations
                                                        relevant to their own experiences
                                                                                                        “Active* Consent              “In the first month after the training was
                                                                                                                                      delivered, three students have come forward
• Support positive, active consent.
• Empower students to address
    negative situations.

                                                    •   Real-time voting activity where
                                                        students are asked for their ideas
                                                        on the importance of consent
                                                                                                        workshops’ information        to report cases, which are now being dealt
                                                                                                                                      with. This is a very positive development
•   Ensure awareness and accessibility
    of supports and services.
                                                    •   Examples of effective consent
                                                        communication                                   is vital to have a healthy    that cases are now being reported. Also
                                                                                                                                      there is a much higher awareness about
In addition, we will also be rolling out a staff
awareness/training programme in 2020-
                                                    What are the learning outcomes of the
                                                    Active* Consent online workshop?                    population of young           consent around the college, and among
                                                                                                                                      student leaders in Clubs and Societies”.
                                                                                                        people going forward
2021 that will cover topics including major         • Students understand that active consent is
findings from the SES survey and handling              OMFG - Ongoing, Mutual and Freely Given
disclosure of negative sexual experiences.          • Students understand that active
                                                                                                                                      “The difference Active* Consent has
                                                       consent is required for all sexual
                                                       activity, not just penetrative sex
                                                    • Students feel more informed about
                                                                                                        who are the future            made is to give the student, female or
                                                                                                                                      male, a common language. … if it’s an
The Active* Consent online workshop

                                                       consent and non-consent, and how to
                                                       recognise the difference between the two
                                                    • Students feel better equipped to
                                                                                                        of our country, who           acknowledged , on-site part of the induction
aims to give first-year students, as well as
those who have not had previous training,
                                                       talk about consent in their own
                                                       sexual relationships, as well as                 are going to be future        … it will become part of their language”.
                                                                                                        parents and teachers
the skills and knowledge to navigate the               with their wider peer group
college landscape and establish healthy,                                                                                              “I think that it’s absolutely imperative that the
consensual sexual relationships, as well            How HEI’s can support the success                                                 staff who’re involved in student health and
                                                                                                        and trainers themselves.
as an awareness of sexual violence and              of the Active* Consent workshop
harassment (SVH) and local supports/services.       Having support from your HEI is integral to the
                                                                                                                                      on student welfare on every campus should
                                                    success of the workshop in your institution.                                      attend the consent workshops and be actively
Research shows that young adults arriving at
university face a “perfect storm of risk factors”
that can lead to sexual assault (living away
                                                    Here’s how your HEI can support
                                                    the success of the workshop:
                                                                                                        We need to give the           listening and learning so that we can have
                                                                                                                                      the language which we need to have. We may
from home for the first time, the likelihood of
experimenting with alcohol and drug use, the        •   Advocate and support training for               information to let them       have the medical language, the technical
                                                                                                                                      language but not the personal language.”
                                                                                                        know, actually this is it,
probability of becoming more sexually active).          staff and student leaders to host
                                                        the workshop at your institution.
We draw on over five years of Active*               •   Publicise the workshop in first year
                                                                                                                                      “If you took part in one of these and you are
                                                                                                        this is your choice, it’s
Consent research into young people’s sexual             orientation packs and/or academic
behaviour, as well as leading Irish research
evidence, to deliver a live online workshop
                                                        programme to ensure credibility
                                                        and visibility to new students.
                                                                                                                                      18 and then you went into a situation, you
                                                                                                                                      would definitely have a much stronger sense
with humour and variety of mediums to deliver
the information to keep students engaged.
We aim to be as inclusive as possible within

                                                    •   Provide follow up support for facilitators
                                                        (e.g. protocol in the event of students
                                                        disclosing incidents of SVH, etc).
                                                                                                        about choice, it’s about      of whether you were giving consent or not”.
a limited time frame to all gender identities,
sexual orientations and levels of intimacy.
                                                    •   Provide follow up support for students
                                                        (e.g. signposting to student counselling,
                                                        SU welfare, local rape crisis centres, etc).
                                                                                                        having the knowledge,         “And that’s the great thing about these
The Active* Consent workshop is delivered
by peer facilitators coached by our own             What Staff Say about Working                        having the language and       workshops, it really does seem that students
                                                                                                                                      who attend talk to other students”.
                                                                                                        keeping it simple. It’s
expert training unit, to increase student’s         With Active* Consent
engagement and ease in discussing
sensitive subject matter. This delivery             We work with a variety of staff stakeholders                                      “It has made me feel a lot more solid and assured
targets both students who might not
readily identify with consent, as well as
students with existing knowledge and

                                                    across HEIs from counsellors to nurses
                                                    to Student Services to academics to
                                                    those in university management.
                                                                                                        vital that it’s things they   about the area, it’s made me a lot more clear
                                                                                                                                      … a lot more confident in the whole area”.
openness to the idea of consent.
When is the workshop delivered?
                                                    Across these roles, those we’ve engaged with
                                                    agree that Active* Consent has changed the
                                                                                                        can identify with: the        “This is what the workshops do – students came
• The workshop is ideally delivered within
  your first-year orientation programme,
                                                    conversation on their campus, and given many
                                                    students an expanded vocabulary to talk             performance, the video,       into me telling me something happened without
                                                                                                                                      consent and they used the word consent.
                                                                                                        plays. Vital, absolutely
  or during first semester academic                 about consent and their sexual experiences.
  programming. However, it can also
  be delivered later in the year.
                                                                                                                                      “I wasn’t comfortable, I saw that play, I saw that
What does the workshop contain?
• Animated video highlighting how they
                                                                                                        vital because that’s what     video, I heard what they said … and can I tell you
  all practice consent communication
  in everyday situations and that
  Active* Consent is OMFG
                                                                                                        they identify with.”          what happened to me” That’s powerful. And you
                                                                                                                                      need to know that you are having that effect”.
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