Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, at the launch of We-Consent, a long-term national campaign

New three-year campaign on consent launched nationally

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), alongside the Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, and Community Foundation Ireland, has launched We-Consent, a long-term national campaign to inform, educate and engage with all members of Irish society about consent.

It is among the first national consent campaigns targeting all demographic cohorts to be launched across the globe.

This campaign will ignite an open and meaningful conversation about sex and relationships and build a greater understanding of consent.

We-Consent will work broadly with groups and stakeholders from across the country across all demographics to ensure a non-judgmental conversation that is inclusive and rooted in the lives and experiences of real people.

Research undertaken by DRCC illustrated that 70% of people think we have a problem with consent in Ireland, while 1 in 3 people are embarrassed to talk about sex. The research also showed a misunderstanding of consent, with 1 in 5 people agreeing that sometimes people say no to sex when they want convincing.

According to the same research, 84% of people in Ireland agreed that we need age-appropriate sex education in school and 60% say consent is a responsibility for all society and needs state action. The qualitative research illustrated a strong desire amongst parents to empower their children when it comes to consent.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), alongside the Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, and Community Foundation Ireland, at the launch of We-Consent. Pic shows Noeline Blackwell (DRCC), with panellists Chris Rooke, Dr Caroline Kelleher (RCSI), Louise McSharry who MC’ed the event, Comedian Jarlath Regan, Denise Charlton (CFI), together with DRCC staff and stakeholders at the launch of the campaign today in Merrion Square.Pic. Keith Arkins Media.

The research also suggested that moving the conversation towards sexual equality will empower both men and women, leaving people feeling valued, respected and accepted. We-Consent is focused on positive thinking, encouraging everyone to participate in a meaningful and engaging conversation to achieve a cultural shift for the better.

We-Consent is funded by the Department of Justice and the Community Foundation Ireland.

Speaking about the campaign, the Minister for Justice said:

“I am delighted to support the We-Consent campaign, which focuses on achieving a cultural shift and significant behavioural change. It's time for all of us to talk honestly and openly about consent, sex and relationships," said Simon Harris TD.

"We all have a role to play in this national conversation, regardless of age, gender, sexuality or relationship status. This campaign adds to the work that Government is doing in our Zero Tolerance Strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence to achieve a society which does not accept these crimes or the attitudes which underpin them.

"My Department was very proud to support DRCC in undertaking the extensive research which has informed their approach to this and I would like to congratulate DRCC for bringing forward this ground-breaking campaign which I believe is representative of an evolving Ireland.”

Noeline Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer, DRCC said Sexual violence blights so many lives in Ireland.

"Around a third of us have been directly harmed by it. Our aim in this campaign is to emphasise the positive values of consent which in turn can help reduce the levels of sexual violence.

"We believe a greater understanding of consent will make our society more equal, happier and healthier - as well as safer. Every one of us has capacity to learn more and do more when it comes to consent and this campaign will need every one of us to come on board to create a real shift in our society – not only for the next generation, but also for here and now.

"We believe this campaign will spark long overdue conversations about the kind of values we want to define us and the meaning of equality within our culture – Ireland is ready for these conversations.”

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive, Community Foundation Ireland added that We-Consent marks the start of a long overdue conversation on sex and relationships.

"The Community Foundation Ireland was proud to partner with DRCC two years ago for ground-breaking research which showed that while 70% of people believe Ireland has a problem with consent, there is also a huge lack of understanding.

"With this campaign, we will together bridge that information gap. Conversations will be sparked in homes, workplaces, pubs and clubs bringing a spotlight on an issue which has been ignored for too long.”

The We-Consent campaign will run for the next three years with workshops and communication initiatives planned nationally to help inform and engage the population. Information will be provided with the aim of informing open, inclusive and progressive conversations.

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