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Dignity & Respect Conference 2024

Building Capacity to Provide Support in Irish Higher Education

We are delighted to share on this site details of the first Dignity & Respect conference to be hosted by UCD. 

This conference aims to inform key roles within the Higher Education Sector and the wider community about the issues faced by our students and employees.  A key objective is to help build capacity and add to the skills and expertise in the sector to ensure that effective and trauma-informed support becomes available to all students and sectoral employees.

This conference will be of interest to Student Support Professionals, newly appointed Sexual Violence and Harassment Prevention and Response Managers and their teams, Students Union Officers, Complaints Officers, Professional Investigators, EDI professionals and other individuals interested in contributing to the establishment of safe, respectful, and supportive campus cultures.

Conference Details

DateThursday, 2nd May 2024

TimeRegistration opens at 09:30. Conference closes at 15:30


LocationAstra Hall, Belfield Campus, UCD

OrganisersDignity & Respect Support Service

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Please note that we will be taking pictures during the event for website and annual report purposes. In case you have any additional questions or if you want picture removed, please contact (opens in a new window)respect@ucd.ie.

Keynote / Plenary Speakers

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Professor Maeve Eogan

National Clinical Lead, Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Professor Maeve Eogan is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Rotunda Hospital, the longest established and busiest maternity hospital in Ireland. She is also the HSE national clinical lead for Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) services, and provides care at the SATU at the Rotunda. She is an honorary clinical associate Professor in UCD and RCSI. Prof Eogan’s special interests are provision of care for people who have experienced sexual violence, optimising access to responsive healthcare, health promotion in pregnancy, inclusion health and prevention and management of pelvic floor issues after birth.

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Christopher Down

Anglia Ruskin University, Investigations Officer

In 2018, following an 18 year police career including detective roles in sexual and child abuse and major crime, Chris moved to the higher education sector with the University of Cambridge as Senior Investigating Officer. Chris has since joined Anglia Ruskin University as their first Investigations Officer managing the University’s response to a range of disciplinary issues. Chris has responsibility for investigating sexual misconduct, policy development and staff training on responding to sexual violence disclosures. Since coming to higher education and recognising the challenges with this work, the dearth of experience and practical guidance, coupled with the issues associated with ‘criminal justice drift’, Chris undertook both undergraduate and master’s degrees in Applied Investigations and Investigation Management. His dissertations for both degrees explored the investigation of sexual violence reports in the context of higher education.

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Detective Sergeant Lorna O Connor

An Garda Síochána

Detective Sergeant Lorna O Connor is attached to the Divisional Protective Services Unit at Kevin Street Garda Station.

Having worked in An Garda Síochána for almost 20 years, Detective Sergeant O’Connor has spent the majority of this time specialising in the investigation of sexual and gender based violence and can therefore offer an insight into the role of An Garda Síochána in the investigation of these very difficult crimes as well as advice in relation to supporting students who may be in this situation.

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Gerry Buttner

Senior Cyber Analyst, Centre for Cyber Security and Cybercrime

Gerry Buttner, MSc (UCD-CCI), is employed as a Senior Cyber Security Analyst at the UCD Centre for Cybercrime Investigation. His work encompasses the financial, government, law enforcement, and military sectors of cybersecurity. Gerry's focus includes the development of training programs, national perspective threat intelligence platforms, threat monitoring, penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, malware analysis, and systems administration. He has engaged in research in the fields of graphic design, distributed systems, incident response, digital forensics, and cybercrime. Furthermore, Gerry acts as a Consultant Cyber Security Specialist to both public and private sector entities, advising on cyber threats and intelligence.

Prior to his role at the UCD Centre for Cybercrime Investigation (CCI), Gerry was a member of An Garda Síochána and gained extensive experience as a Detective in both the National Garda Bureau for Cyber Crime Investigation and general crime investigation.

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Michelle Caulfield

Galway Rape Crisis Centre

Michelle graduated as a psychotherapist from The Tivoli Institute in 2010. She works as a clinical trauma therapist in Galway city.

Michelle leads the Education and Training department in the Galway rape crisis Centre. She is a passionate advocate in sexual violence prevention and sexual violence Disclosure development.
Creating Trauma informed spaces within our education institutes, community and frontline services is key to easing the long-term effects of sexual violence in our communities.

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Gemma McNally

Clinical & Therapeutic Lead, Active Consent, University of Galway

Gemma is the Clinical & Therapeutic Lead, Active* Consent, University of Galway. She is an accredited psychotherapist, specialising in Sexual Violence and young people for 18 years.
One of her key roles with Active* Consent is to facilitate the First Point of Contact training (FPOC), to staff and students on campus in Galway, the CPD Module; Consent, Sexual Violence and Harassment: Practitioner Skills & Practice (PS6158) and the Further Education and Training & YouthReach sector (FET) nationally.

She is a member of the Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHEI) Executive who provide support for student counsellors and facilitate continuous professional development across all HEI’s.

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Dr Declan Fahie

Lecturer/Assistant Professor, UCD School of Education

Declan Fahie PhD is a qualified primary school teacher who has taught in Ireland, the UK and Italy. He is currently the Director of School Placement at the School of Education, UCD where he also teaches Sociology of Education. Declan has published nationally and internationally on workplace bullying and harassment, toxic leadership in higher education, research methods and sensitive research methodologies. A member of the Teaching Council, Declan is part of a national research consortium examining the lived experiences of targets of sexual harassment and sexual violence in Irish higher education.

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David Delaney

Motivational Speaker

David is a motivational speaker who’s goal is to empower and inspire others to embrace their full potential. He has a master’s from UCD’s schools of computer science and psychology and a Diploma in Creativity and leadership (UCD Innovation Academy).

David is the author of the book “The Mindful Spark – Reclaim your Past, Reset your Future”. Is an instructor in Mindfulness based Stress Reduction , Koru and Buteyko breathing. Is a guest presenter in over thirty modules in 15 different schools within UCD

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Catherine Tormey

Dignity and Respect Response Manager

Catherine is the Dignity and Respect Response Manager at the UCD Dignity & Respect Support Service. She holds a BA and MA from UCD and has worked at UCD since 2009. Catherine held the post of UCD Mature Students’ Adviser for five years where she worked closely with both the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning and UCD Student Advisers teams to support students from groups under-represented in Higher Education. During this time she was the primary support worker supporting UCD University of Sanctuary scholars. In 2021 she joined the UCD Dignity & Respect Support Service as Senior D&R Support Adviser and led the establishment and roll-out of this specialist service.

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Gavan Stanley

Employee Relations and Policy Manager for UCD

Gavan Stanley is the Employee Relations and Policy Manager for UCD. Gavan has worked in the ER/HR space for over 20 years with wide experience including trade union engagement, representation at third parties and advising senior management on all ER-related issues. Gavan is a qualified Barrister with a significant background in the application of employment law in this jurisdiction. Prior to his roles in UCD, Gavan worked in senior ER positions for high profile organizations such as the Irish Business and Employers Confederation and the Irish Medical Organization.

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Ellen Curran

Dignity & Respect Student Ambassador

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Iva Sharma

Dignity & Respect Student Ambassador

Dignity & Respect Student Ambassador, College of Social Sciences & Law.

Heuston Train Station: the Dublin Bus route 145 from Heuston station serves UCD.

Connolly Train Station: take the DART service southbound to Sydney Parade station. 

Dublin Bus: UCD is well served by public transport. Bus stops are located at the rear of the Sports Centre (Stop 877, served by the S4 is the closest to the Ad Astra Hall) and the main terminus next to the Sutherland Building.

Stops are also located just outside campus gates at Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh Road, Fosters Avenue and the N11 (main entrance). Use the (opens in a new window)TFI Journey Planner and Real Time information to get the best possible routes.

By Car: Limited hourly paid parking is available in designated car parks and charges apply 08:00 -17:00 Monday - Friday (excluding bank holidays) during the Autumn & Spring UCD teaching trimesters. Parking is limited on campus and available on a first come, first served  basis. UCD strongly encourages the use of sustainable transport modes where possible. Learn more about Parking in UCD. 

(Disabled parking spots are available in all car parks)

Contact UCD Dignity & Respect

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: 01 716 7716 | E: respect@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)