The RESPECT Network is chaired by Dr Cherie Armour.

The work of the network is divided into 4 main groups: Prevalence, Policy, Prevention and Communications & Events.



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Prevalence research and statistics on violence/abuse in relationships from national and international surveys tend to shock those who are not familiar with them. Lifetime experience of these types of violence is often pervasive. Being conscious of the precise, quantified and gendered distribution of violence is pivotal to the development of appropriate systems to respond to same. Moreover, not knowing the extent of the problem, what groups are of highest risk of this type of violence and the changes in the incidence and prevalence of such violence over time, limits the ability of key stakeholders to respond appropriately and strategically to the problem. In more general terms, data are needed about prevalence, incidence and extent of all forms of violence and these different forms of violence pose different challenges for information collection and recording. The quality and availability of information varies. Therefore, settling the prevalence data collection issue for specific cohorts is a matter of some urgency. It is also important, however, that efforts involved in determining prevalence and incidence do not, in turn, detract resources and attention from remaining issues such as protection and prevention. 

Team Lead  Phillip McCormack

Cherie Armour; Bill Flack; Stephanie Holt; John Devaney; Caroline Kelleher; Susan Langdon; Shelley Fletcher; Siobhan O’Neill;
Carol Rhonda Burns; Martin Robinson



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A university campus represents a unique environment where students are afforded opportunities to develop not only academically, but also personally, at what is typically a pivotal time in their personal growth and self-awareness.  By engaging students with the issues of sexual respect, sexual assault and consent through both university policies and structured learning, the physical, psychological, spiritual, social, cultural and welfare needs of students will be enhanced, resulting in the development of a progressive, effective culture, enhanced by an improved engagement with and amongst students on these issues. It is envisaged that a learning-based context for the development of a better understanding, and an expectation of respectful behaviour will lead to attitude and behavioural change across our campuses for the benefit of our broader society. Such measures are best developed in the context of transparent and accessible related university policies to equip the university to react appropriately and comprehensively in crisis situations.
The development of normative practices can come about organically through naturally shifting social behaviour or can also be encouraged through deliberate identification and cultivation, via state intervention measures. For consideration in the broader policy sense is the current appetite for social norms and existing cultures to be challenged and the identification of appropriate measures, if any, that might be adopted.
The RESPECT Policy stream will engage with the capacity of third level institutions to develop both structures and polices to create optimal institutional settings for the development and protection of all those who engage with campus life, whilst assessing the capacity for change in the broader social context.

Team Lead  Louise Crowley

Cherie Armour; Philip McCormack; Stephanie Holt; Caroline Kelleher; Cara Cash; Susan Lagdon; Siobhan O’Neill; Norma Patterson



Sexual health concerns the achievement of physical, emotional, mental and social well being in this important domain of self and identity. It takes on a particular meaning for teenagers and young adults given that they are typically transitioning to personal independence and autonomy. Yet our youth are underserved in several respects – both in (a) the availability of positive sexual health promotion programmes that support and empower people in sexual expression, and (b) access to evidence-based prevention initiatives that successfully address the risk of sexual violence and promote the ability to manage risk. The ‘Prevention’ thematic area aims to further our understanding of the factors that promote or restrict communication, knowledge and skills that underpin personal sexual health. It will also support strategies and initiatives relevant to the prevention of sexual harassment and violence, and the achievement of sexual well being. The underlying vision is that, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, youth will feel personally confident and equipped to engage in sexual encounters characterised by mutuality and communication, and to support their surrounding community of peers in doing so as well.

Team Lead  Pádraig Mac Neela

Cherie Armour; Natai Aleksiewicz; Philip McCormack; Stephanie Holt ; Caroline Kelleher; Cara Cash; Susan Lagdon; Siobhan O’Neill;
Norma Patterson; Siobhán O'Higgins; 
Martin Robinson; Elaine Byrnes


Communications & Events


The Communications and Events team is made up of a number of RESPECT Network members across organisations with the Lead based at Ulster University. If you wish to contact the Communications team directly please forward your correspondence to Carol Rhonda Burns.

Team Lead  Carol Rhonda Burns

Cherie Armour; Natai Aleksiewicz; Shelley Fletcher; Martin Robinson; Clíona Saidléar; Carol Bisso