Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.56 23 Oct 2018


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An Oireachtas committee is examining the effectiveness, timeliness and certification of sexual consent classes at Ireland's universities.

The Joint Committee on Education and Skills is looking at whether third-level education is the right time to introduce these classes - or whether this needs to happen more at secondary level.

Members of the committee are also seeking clarity about how third-level institutions determine what should be taught and by whom.

Committee chair Fiona O'Loughlin says all members agree on the need to increase understanding of what consent means, and to use education to equip students with the skills to communicate effectively.

She told Breakfast Briefing on Newstalk the group is looking at a range of issues.

"Among young people, certainly I think we need to increase understanding of what consent means.

"And we need to equip students with the necessary skills to communicate effectively, develop respect for one other and minimise the risk of inappropriate sexual behaviour."

'Standardised approach'

"So we started looking at what was being offered on different campuses around Ireland - and there seems to be a wide range of approaches attempting to address this matter.

"And there also seems to be a number of different providers of workshops and courses.

"Some universities offer workshops, some of them offer courses; so there does seem to be a fragmented approach to effectively achieving the aim of consent classes.

"So we want to look at all the different approaches, we want to see should there be a standardised approach.

"To that extent, we have invited six different witnesses in today: we have representatives from NUI Galway, from DIT, from TCD - and we also have students themselves, students representing the USI and TCD.

"And we've also invited in Rape Crisis Network Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills".

Ms O'Loughlin says following on from this, the committee will then put together a report and make recommendations to the department and the universities.


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