What are sexual assault and consent?

If the sexual assault recently occurred, is in progress, or you are in need of immediate medical/policing assistance, please call 9-1-1.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature that is imposed on another person without their consent and which violates, or threatens to violate, their sexual integrity. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted kissing, touching, penetration or attempted penetration.

Sexual assault is a criminal act, regardless of the relationship between the survivor and the accused.

Sexual assaults and sexual violence are crimes of power and control.

What is consent?

Consent is the voluntary and active agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity.

  • Consent is a clear and continuing "yes" (whether by words or actions) - not the absence of "no".
  • An individual does not have to say "no" or show resistance to demonstrate that they are not consenting.
  • A clear "yes" to a sexual activity must be obtained from a person who is freely and legally able to consent.
  • The context in which consent is provided must also be taken into consideration as consent cannot be received when the person is unconscious or severely impaired by an intoxicating substance; lacks the intellectual ability to provide consent; or, is coerced or threatened into the sexual activity.
  • Even if a person initially gives consent they can still change their mind during the act, at which time the activity must stop because that person has revoked their consent.
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