Sexual consent

Sexual consent can sometimes be misunderstood and a number of myths surrounding sexual consent are commonplace in society.

This is an important issue, and we want to encourage our students to think about and discuss sexual consent.

What sexual consent is

Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to have sex or engage in a sexual activity – and they are free and able to make their own decision. Making sure you get and give consent before having any kind of sex with another person (or people) really matters. Sex without consent is rape or sexual assault.

What the law says

The law says:

  • A person consents if they agree by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
  • A person commits rape if they intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with their penis without consent.
  • A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent.
  • The law recognises that a person might not have sufficient capacity because of their age or because of a mental disorder. The amount someone has had to drink or the drugs they have can also affect their ability to consent.

The age of consent

The age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16 for both men and women. There are specific laws in place to protect children under the age of 13 who cannot legally give their consent to any kind of sexual activity. A person under the age of 18 cannot consent to sex if it is with a person who has a duty of care or is in a position of authority or trust, such as a teacher, doctor or lecturer. If you repeatedly ask for consent and are refused, this can count as sexual harassment.

Consent? It's as simple as tea . . .

Please take a few moments to watch this short film about consent.

Take the consent quiz

To test your understanding of sexual consent, take the short Pause, play, stop consent quiz.

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