NUI Galway to Launch Sexual Health and Support Initiative

Oct 30 2015 Posted: 16:41 GMT

NUI Galway will mark the Students’ Union Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) Week with a free showing of the award-winning US documentary, The Hunting Ground, at 6pm on Tuesday, 3 November in the Aula Maxima. The Hunting Ground highlights how student-led activism overcame institutional and cultural resistance to accepting that sexual assault is a major problem in US universities.

During the event NUI Galway will also be launching a new initiative, Sexual Health and Support, in response to growing concerns for student safety. In a recent NUI Galway survey, 25 per cent of female students reported that another person had tried or succeeded in having sexual contact with them through the use of force, in comparison to 6 per cent of male students. The survey also found that half of female students reported unwanted sexual advances in the past year due to someone’s drinking. This new initiative aims to provide information on the support services available to students affected by sexual violence, and the University has also created a hashtag campaign, #NUIGsafecampus, to ensure that all students know how and where to get help.

NUI Galway is also piloting ‘Smart Consent’ workshops, and is the first campus to lead on this training and are working with other Higher Education Institutes to roll it out nationally. Consent can be a grey area, as it is often sought and communicated indirectly and these workshops will provide students with the opportunity to talk about positive forms of sexual communication. This campaign is relevant as survey results showed 50% of NUI Galway students would not verbalise what they are comfortable with sexually with sexual partners.

Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “It is so important that, as an institution, we are not burying our heads in the sand and saying that sexual assault does not happen to our students. We are listening to the research findings and working with our Students’ Union colleagues to support student safety and positive sexual health.”

The screening of The Hunting Ground will be followed by a panel and audience discussion featuring University staff, students and community partners. Information will also be provided regarding the ‘Smart Consent’ workshops.

More information can be found at


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