The Law

The law is clear: having any kind of sex without getting consent is illegal and is rape or sexual assault.

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.