Any sexual act done without consent is an act of sexual violence. This is a crime.
Communication and respect
In any form of sexual contact, consent should be enthusiastic, with both partners giving permission for specific sexual activity that is expressed through positive and voluntary words or actions.
- Is ongoing and must be given every time. It is specific to context and time. Just because someone has consented to one sexual activity does not mean they are willing to go further or that they will consent to the same act at another time.
- Can be withdrawn at any time—this means stop.
- Cannot be given by someone who is unable to understand the facts or nature of the sexual acts occurring, even if they are asked. This could include someone who is under the legal age of consent, unconscious, sleeping, affected by drugs or alcohol, or who has a disability or illness which impairs them to the extent they are unable to consent.
- Cannot be assumed. Silence, or the absence of “no”, does not mean “yes”—nor does a previous romantic or sexual relationship with that person.
- Cannot be obtained by threat or given under pressure (this can include psychological and emotional manipulation, or situations where there is a power imbalance).
If you are not sure if someone is consenting, or if you are not sure about their ability to consent, stop. You do not have consent. This is sexual violence.