Irish colleges investigated only 15 out of 31 reported sexual assault and harassment cases in 2018/19
New data has found not all reports of sexual assault and harassment cases are investigated by third-level institutions
According to the thejournal.ie less than half of sexual assault and harassment cases reported by students during 2018 and 2019 were investigated by colleges.
In the 2018/2019 academic year, 31 students reported cases but only 15 of these were investigated by the institutions. This information was collected in 2019 from 19 higher-level institutions where such information was available.
Data collected also shows the number of reported cases has been increasing over the years. Investigations by colleges have increased also but not all reports are examined.
For example in the 2013/2014 academic year, 13 students reported cases of sexual assault or harassment but only three of these were investigated. In 2014/2015 the number of cases reported increased to 15 but only 7 were investigated further.
The following year the same number was reported with 1o investigated and for 2016/17, a total of 10 cases were reported to the institutions but only two investigated. This number jumped to 36 in 2017/2018 but only 12 were taken further.
The data comes just weeks after Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin spoke out about her experience of sexual harassment by a colleague in University College Dublin.
In August, the Cork Sexual Violence Centre reported that it received 3,469 calls and texts to its helpline in 2019 with 37% of all new clients indicating that they were third level students.
Founder of the centre Mary Crilly told the Irish Times that three allegations of sexual assault or rape during freshers’ week would be normal.
“There has to be zero tolerance. Universities need to come out with their policies and act on it. The guys need to be called out and told this is not on,” she said.
During the week Minister Harris launched the Active* Consent Toolkit: Developing a Consent Strategy for your Higher Education Institution which was produced by NUI Galway’s Active* Consent Programme.