Department for Further and Higher Education launch survey on student experience of bullying

Speaking about the launch of the survey, Harris said that he has been “very clear that the tertiary education and training sector must lead the way in changing cultures”

A national survey on student experiences of bullying in the higher education section was launched on Friday, and will remain open until November 30.

The survey, which has been commissioned by the Department for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, will be conducted by researchers at the Dublin City University (DCU) Anti-Bullying Centre, and it will be sent to higher education students in Ireland by their institutions.

According to the press release, the online survey will ask about the experiences of bullying among higher education students across Ireland, and respondents will be asked to reflect on their experiences of interacting with other students within higher education institutions.

The press release explained that 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,” the press release said. “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 on Friday, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon 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,” he continued. “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 (HEA) said: “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.”

Dr. Michael Goldrick, from National College of Ireland, stated: “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,” Goldrick continued.

In August of this year, another national survey was conducted, which reported one third of higher education staff experiencing bullying or harassment.

A total of 3,835 HEI staff engaged in the online survey, which covered demographics and work arrangements, negative acts at work, bullying and cyberbullying, bystander behaviour, anti-bullying culture and team psychological safety.

According to the survey, 28% of those surveyed reported “occasional” work-oriented negative acts,which meant targeting someone’s professional standing. 26% reported person-oriented negative acts, which meant targeting someone’s personal standing. An average of 32.9% of the respondents reported cyberbullying at work. 33.5% reported having been bullied at work within the past three years, with 70.6% of them having been bullied for several months. In 55% of cases, the perpetrator of bullying was a senior colleague, while peer bullying accounted for 24.6% of cases.  

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.