What is consent?
A person consents if he or she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
Consent is key – without it, any sexual act becomes a criminal offence. If someone is incapable of consenting (for example if they are too drunk or asleep), it is still sexual violence.
Sex with someone who doesn’t want to is rape.
It does not make a difference whether the people know each other or not, or what relationship they have. Rape and sexual assault do not have to involve physical force – threatening violence, or having sex with someone who is incapable of consenting (for example because they’re drunk or asleep) is rape.
Information and support
- Just because your friends may be having sex or engaging in sexual activity doesn’t mean you have to.
- Having sex with someone before doesn’t mean you have to do it again, and it doesn’t mean you have to have sex in every relationship.
- Taking advantage of someone who is drunk or unaware of what is happening means they can’t consent. If in doubt, don’t do it.
- It is illegal to have sex or engage in sexual activity with someone without their consent.
- Do you think your friend is being inappropriate with someone or pushing them to do something they don’t want to do? Challenge their behaviour if you don’t think it’s right.
Parties, proms and big nights out could be some of the best nights ever. But sometimes things can go wrong and you could find yourself in a situation out of your control that you had not planned for.
Follow these tips to make sure your night out is a great night:
- Ensure you have a lift home with a responsible person you trust. Or if you are getting a taxi, make sure you get one with a friend/friends and ensure it is a licensed taxi. You should pre-book a taxi or have a licensed taxi company phone number ready and enough money to pay.
- Keep your mobile phone with you at all times.
- Stay with your friends and look out for each other.
If you have been sexually assaulted it is not your fault. There are lots of organisations that can help and you don’t have to involve the police if you don’t want to.
The Shores, Dorset SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre)
The shores offers support for victims of rape or sexual assault including crisis support, counselling referrals and health and welfare support.
01202 552 056
Dorset Rape Crisis
Dorset Rape Crisis offers practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped or sexually abused.
01202 308 855
Over the Rainbow (LGBT community)
Over the Rainbow offer advice, support and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Dorset.
010202 257 478
Childline (under 19 years of age)
Childline offer help and advice around a wide range of issues for any child or young people up until their 19th birthday.
0800 11 11
In an emergency always dial 999.
For non-emergencies report online here or call 101 and ask to be put in touch with a specially trained police officer.
Visit www.survivorpathway.org.uk/Dorset to find out more about specialist support services available in the South West.
This campaign is supported by Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council, Borough of Poole, Dorset Police, Dorset Rape Crisis, The Shores.