To give consent or to get consent from someone else seems straightforward, but the complexity of relationships and sexual encounters at university can create uncertainty, especially if mixed with alcohol or drugs.
We want to increase awareness around sexual consent to help our students understand and respect personal boundaries in order to help prevent unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault.
When considering consent, any form of sexual contact or activity should be ‘Ongoing, Mutual, Freely Given’ – for example, kissing does not mean consent for further sexual activity.
So what is consent…?
Consent is defined in the Sexual Offences NI Order 2007 when a person agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice; including not being impaired by alcohol or drugs.
It is an offence of sexual assault for a person intentionally to touch another person sexually without reasonable belief that they consented. Touching covers all physical contact, whether with a part of their body, with another object, or through clothing. Examples of sexual assault or rape can include;
- Sexual contact with someone whom you reasonably should have known was impaired due to the use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Sexual contact with someone who is “passed out” or sleeping.
- Sexual contact with someone who is unable to say “no” and/or change his/her mind due to the presence of coercion or intimidation.
- Sexual contact with someone who is under the legal age to consent.
- Making sure you get and give consent really matters.
- Sex without consent is rape.
- Sexual assault is always the perpetrator’s fault.
- Sexual assault is an offence which can result in imprisonment.
Report and support
We know it takes courage to talk about it, but if you have experienced sexual assault or are concerned about someone else who has been sexual assaulted, we can help, report and seek support.
- Call the PSNI on 101 (or call 999 if in immediate danger) https://nogreyzone.com/
- Alternatively confidentially contact the Rowan Sexual Assault Referral Centre (24/7) on 0800 398 4424 (visit: therowan.net)
- Nexus NI - Specialist counselling for male and female survivors of sexual abuse/violence ages 16+. 028 9032 6803 www.nexusni.org
- Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline (24/7) – 0808 8021414 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Student Support Health & Wellbeing team – 028 9536 7000 email@example.com
- Student Counselling service (24/7) – 0800 028 5510 firstname.lastname@example.org