As part of the Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Third-Level Education (ESHTE) project, our team is creating a series of webinars covering the issues stemming from conversations and research with students and institutes in our partner countries.
In this second webinar, Dr Louise Crowley, Vice Dean and Senior Lecturer in the University College Cork (UCC) School of Law, discusses the innovative Bystander Intervention initiative, which she developed and piloted within the school. Run over six workshops, the initiative aims to empower students to consider their roles and contributions towards a safer campus and, ultimately, a safer society for everyone.
Dr Crowley explains how Bystander Intervention programmes help to build a zero-tolerance culture towards any form of sexual violence or harassment. In this initiative, students take on four weeks of facilitated learning sessions, before moving to two weeks of 'role play' workshops in which they rehearse and apply their learning in different scenarios. This supports students to lead attitude change by developing understandings of consent and healthy relationships, and intervening as bystanders in challenging unacceptable verbal and physical behaviours. The initiative thus gives students the skills and knowledge to support friends, classmates and peers in incidents where sexual violence and harassment has occurred or has the potential to occur.
First piloted with 163 law students, the success of the initiative saw it rolled out as a compulsory module for all first-year law and nursing students in the 2017/18 academic year. Here, Dr Crowley shares how she hopes to expand the initiative to reach more students and wider audiences, and encourages other third-level institutes to implement the initiative for themselves.