MU joins Speak Out online platform for anonymous reporting of violence and sexual harassment

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash
Monday, November 8, 2021 - 13:00

An online anonymous violence and harassment reporting tool for higher education institutions is available for staff and students at Maynooth University.

The online reporting platform, Speak Out, supports users to anonymously disclose incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, discrimination, hate crime, coercive behaviour and control, stalking, assault, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

The platform also helps users to find information and contact details on relevant Maynooth supports and specialist external supports. It offers informed signposting guidance on formal reporting procedures, should users wish to make a formal complaint.

Kathleen McNutt, Head of Maynooth University Counselling Service, said: “As the Counselling Service we are very likely to meet students who come to speak with us on such incidences. We are very aware of the level of self-blame, guilt, shame and fear that prevails often with little understanding that what has happened or is happening is abusive or indeed a crime. 

“One of the goals of implementing this reporting tool is to address the rate of under-reporting that is prevalent at present and to give a voice to those who may only feel able to make an anonymous report on what has happened to them.”

Speak Out was launched nationally in October of this year as the Anonymous Violence and Harassment Reporting Tool for higher education institutions. Speak Out is led by the Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHEI) and funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Speaking at the official launch, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD said: “The creation of this innovative and supportive online platform will provide a safe and anonymous medium for students and staff to report incidents of bullying, assault or sexual violence in a trauma-informed environment.

“These are issues that my Department is acutely aware of, and I’m delighted we could provide funding for this vital project.

“Speak Out represents a national approach to tackling these issues by raising awareness, and by providing a means of recording instances, which will assist in achieving a zero-tolerance culture.”

More information about Speak Out is available on the Maynooth University website.