The project is informed by research from across the EU which has reported the shockingly high prevalence of sexual harassment and violence affecting young women in third level institutions. This includes the European Research Study “Gender Based Violence, Stalking and Fear of Crime”; where higher education institutions in Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the UK, reported between 50% and nearly 70% of all women students having at least one experience of sexual harassment and between 30% and 47% reporting at least one experience of an unwanted sexual act.
16% of Irish female students reported that they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact while in their current educational institution and 14% had experienced serious physical or sexual assault while attending their institutions (Say Something, 2013, USI & Cosc). In the UK, 1 in 7 female students experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student and 68% of female students reported that they had been subjected to verbal or physical sexual harassment on campus, with some experiencing harassment on a daily basis. (Hidden Marks Report, 2010, NUS)
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is leading the ESHTE project with project partners Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) in Cyprus, Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), The Women’s Issues Information Centre (WIIC) in Lithuania and The Women’s Equality Commissioner, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich in Germany. Each project partner is working with higher education institutions, both staff and students, statutory agencies and NGO’s focused on combatting sexual violence and harassment against women.
The project will build a culture of zero tolerance of sexual harassment and violence in third level institutions by raising awareness through active campaigning and by developing training and policy resources for students and staff. We will work to ensure there is a coherent framework driving clear reporting and disclosure mechanisms, resourcing strong support services and ensuring long-term, sustainable interventions.