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Minister Harris launches national survey on student experiences of bullying in higher education institutions

NCI's Dr Michael Goldrick will lead this research into bullying in the higher education sector.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today launched a national survey on student experiences of bullying in the higher education sector.

The survey, commissioned by the department, will be conducted by researchers at the DCU Anti-Bullying Centre and it will be sent to higher education students in Ireland by their institutions.

The online survey will ask about the experiences of bullying among higher education students across Ireland and will remain open until 30th November. Respondents will be asked to reflect on their experiences of interacting with other students within higher education institutions.

The primary goal of the proposed project is to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of bullying among higher education students across Ireland. Insights from this study will be used to implement new or updated policies, processes, training and resources to support higher education institutions in addressing these issues.

This survey will add to our understanding of issues of bullying and other forms of unwanted behaviour in our higher education institutes. It will provide the evidence base to inform future policy decisions.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I have been very clear that the tertiary education and training sector must lead the way in changing cultures, behaviours and practices across society to ensure that bullying, sexual violence and harassment are not tolerated.” 

“I want to bring about institutional change where all forms of unwanted behaviour are eradicated. We need to listen to survivors and work in collaboration to ensure that students and staff have a safe environment to study and work; free from bullying, harassment or other forms of unwanted behaviour.” 

Dr. Ross Woods from the Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Higher Education Authority welcomed the release of the survey saying: “I look forward to working with the group that will review the survey findings and develop actions based on the survey outcomes. This is another step in the right direction to tackle bullying in HEIs”.

NCI's Dr. Michael Goldrick, who is leading on the research in collaboration with the DCU Anti-Bullying Centre stated that “this survey will help in the understanding of bullying and cyberbullying among and between higher education students in Ireland. I look forward to working with my team on the findings and I would encourage as many students as possible to respond to the survey”.

NCI students will receive the survey via their college email, and this will be accompanied by an awareness campaign to encourage participation.