NUI Galway has launched a groundbreaking online tool for people to anonymously report experiences of violence, bullying, and sexual harassment.
The platform Speak Out is part of a national initiative being rolled out in higher education institutions to allow increased recording and monitoring of incidents which will then be used to develop prevention, support and reporting.
Speak Out allows students and staff to record bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, discrimination, hate crime, coercive behaviour/control, stalking, assault, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.
NUI Galway president, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, says this important initiative is consistent with NUIG's own value of respect.
“We are a respectful, open community, committed to welcoming and sustaining, in excellence, all the talents. All members of the university community have the right to study or work in an environment free from bullying, harassment and sexual harassment. Speak Out empowers our community in reporting such incidents. I encourage them to do so and to confront those elements of society that are unwelcome and unwelcoming and therefore in need of change.”
The Speak Out tool is available for students and staff at NUI Galway at https://nuig.speakout.ie/
Developed for Ireland’s higher education sector, it is led by the psychological counsellors in Higher Education Ireland, with the support of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Higher Education Authority.
The data collected through Speak Out will be used to inform policy and targeted educational initiatives. It is the goal of PCHEI to provide a trauma-informed tool which will provide users with support services relevant to their experience.
Gemma MacNally, from the NUI Galway student counselling service, says the Speak Out tool is an important part of the college's action plan to ensure sexual violence and harassment become more visible and openly discussed.
"The Speak Out tool provides a new option for people to have their voices heard. Meanwhile, we will continue to work on other parts of our Action Plan, such as education and training on positive behaviours, supports, and the mutual respect that must underpin the NUI Galway experience.”