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Introduction

Introduction

SKU: 9.6
  • Advice

    There is a range of crimes that could be considered a sexual offence, these may be committed against children or adults. These crimes can occur between family, friends, strangers and even ex-partners.

     

    For sex involving minors please see the following section of the website. Sexual offences are covered under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA 2003) and cover Rape, Sexual assault, sexual activity without consent, sexual offences against children or people with mental disorders, and prostitution.

     

    The overall definition of sexual or indecent assault is an act of physical, psychological, and/or emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, which is inflicted on someone without their consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts.

     

    If the assault took place at your home, police officers are usually able to find you a safe place to stay. Remember - by speaking out, you could prevent this from happening to somebody else. Sometimes it can be hard to make sense of the situation, so the definitions below may help:

     

    Rape

    Rape is when a person intentionally penetrates another person’s vagina, anus or mouth with a penis, without the other person's consent. The consent element is important, it does not matter if the person is a stranger, relative, partner, husband, wife etc.

     

    Forced Sodomy

    Anal or oral sex without consent, please note this can apply also to sex with animals.

     

    Incest

    Sex between family members or those associated through affinity, such as step-children, marriage, adoption etc.

     

    Assault by penetration

    This is when a person penetrates another person's vagina or anus with any part of the body other than a penis, or by using an object, without the person's consent. The sentences for this offence are the same as those for rape.

     

    Sexual assault

    Simply put, sexual assault is a broad range that covers anything other than the above offences. Sexual assault can also be purely psychological and doesn't need to involve other physical violence or physical harm. For example, if somebody forces an individual to watch pornography, or forces them to engage in sexual behaviour over video with them. Sexual assault also includes anything that isn’t penetrative, like groping or forcing someone to witness or participate in sexual activity.

     

    What is consent?

    Put simply, consent is when both people agree to what's happening by choice and have the freedom and ability to make that choice.

    In the following cases you are not able to give consent:

    • If you are under 16;
    • If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
    • If you are disabled or a vulnerable adult suffering from learning or mental health difficulties;
    • If you are asleep; or
    • If you are physically or emotionally controlled or blackmailed in any way.

     

    Consent can be withdrawn at any time during the sexual encounter and should be given at each step of the intimacy. If somebody firstly consents but then changes their mind, this needs to be respected and the activity should stop. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g., vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom.

     

    Consent must be established between two people before any kind of sexual act or behaviour and you can change your mind at any time. If you have been a victim of an assault, remember that this abuse is never ok and is never your fault, no matter the circumstances.

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