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Study found students believe in the sexual consent principle but feel ashamed of raising the issue

Students will now learn the legal definition of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, and also that how to access support services through the program.

A survey conducted as part of research by academic experts at NUI Galway found that young people strongly believe in the principle of sexual consent. But the study also found that sometimes they feel ashamed to raise the subject.

The survey conducted in college students found that 37% of female students and 53% of male students find it difficult to seek consent.

Sixty-three percent of female students and 37% of male students said they were more likely to say something to intervene if a friend took them back to their room drunk.

NUI Galway president Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said Education and support on the subject of consent is an important learning component and should be made available to all during their study period. He added that their priority is to support the safety, health and well-being of students and staff.

Active consent programme co-lead Dr. Pádraig MacNeela said that “the research shows that the confidence to act on this understanding can be undermined by embarrassment and shame, including misperceptions of what your peers actually think.”

“There is also now evidence to show that a number of young people either agree with or do not actively reject misinformed and potentially harmful rape myths,” he added.

Its new online active consent program for all third-level students will be extended to institutions this year.

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