If you have been:
- Sexually assaulted
- Forced to do a sexual act
- Forced into having sexually explicit photographs taken, or made to take them yourself
Please do contact one of the agencies in the contact page on this website – they will be able to explain what help is available and help you to get it. They can talk over your options and help you make your own decisions. If you want to report it, they can help you; but if you don’t want to report, that’s ok too, they will still help you.
It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened, you can still get help.
There are legal definitions, which we give below, but a victim centred definition is;
- Any non-consensual or unwanted sexual act or attempted act as defined by the victim – sexual violence involves coercion and/or the abuse of power by one person (or more) against another.
Below are some legal definitions of sexual crimes and the law about consent:
The legal definition of rape is:
One or more persons penetrating another person’s mouth, anus or vagina with their penis without their consent.
This means that:
- Anyone can be a victim of rape – women, men and children;
- But only men can commit rape (they have a penis); however, women can
- and do commit other sexual assaults;
- Force and violence do not need to have taken place;
- The victim must have been able to freely consent to what happened.
There is also an offence called – Assault by penetration:
- Penetrating the anus or vagina of someone with any part of the body or with an object, if the penetration is sexual and the person does not consent.
There are other offences of Sexual Assault –
- Any kind of intentional sexual touching of somebody else without their consent, either clothed or unclothed and with their body or with an object.
- Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent (eg: if the victim was forced to masturbate)
It is also an offence to give someone any substance without their consent with the intention of incapacitating them so that sexual activity can take place.
There are also laws about having sex with children under the age of 13 (children under 13 can never legally consent to sex) and under the age of 16.
There is a clear legal definition about consent:
- A person consents if she or he agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice (eg: cannot consent if violence or threats are used, was drugged, asleep or incapacitated by alcohol).
- If the alleged offender wants to claim the victim consented, they have to show that they had reasonable grounds for believing that.
- Children aged less than 13 years can never legally consent.