Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said it is important that education and training on consent is provided by universities and colleges alongside appropriate support for those who are victims of sexual crime.
Commenting on the findings of a survey conducted on behalf of the charity Brook and the student database Dig-In, the party’s further and higher education spokesperson said:
“The survey found that over half of students, 56 per cent, had experienced unwelcome sexual behaviours ranging from explicit messages to inappropriate touching to being forced into unwanted sexual acts; with only a quarter of students who were the victims of rape reporting it.
“The survey also highlighted a lack of understanding of what legally constitutes sexual harassment or violence; only half of the respondents understood that someone could not consent to sex if they were drunk.
“This survey comes on the back of the 2017 Stand Together survey of Queens University students which also found high levels of unwelcome sexual behaviours and low reporting of the incidents.
“It is important that all of these findings are used as an evidence base to formulate policy and practice, with a greater emphasis on relationships and sex education from primary school.
“Universities and colleges have a particular role in ensuring information and training on consent is available and provided to students, and that there are appropriate supports in place for those who the victims of sexual crimes.”