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What is Consent

  • What is “Age Of Consent”?

The age of consent is the age at which you can legally have sex. The campaign #consentis which has been started by the CPS to coincide with freshers week explains the myths behind consent and what it really means.

  • What are the rules?

In England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales we have to be 16 or older to have sex. This applies to both Heterosexual (straight) relationships and Homosexual (gay)

‘Sex’ means penetrative sex (in the vagina or anus), oral sex or masturbating together (hand job or fingering). Sexual acts also mean sexual touching and the use of sex toys on each other

  • What happens if you have underage sex?

The law sees it as sexual assault – it’s a criminal offence. This is because in the eyes of the law we are unable to give informed consent to sex when still a child (under 16).

A boy who has sex with a girl under 16 is breaking the law. Even if she agrees!!

If she is between the ages of 13-15, the boy could go to prison for two years.

If she is under 13 he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

A girl age 16 or over who has sex with a boy under 16 can be prosecuted for indecent assault.

The law isn’t there to make life difficult, it’s there to protect us. Everyone is ready for sex at different ages but the law has to generalise this. This is to protect those who are most vulnerable, from exploitation.

There is no law against asking questions, or finding out about sex. What it means, how to do it, how to protect ourselves from the consequences: pregnancy, STI’s etc.

  • So, once you’re 16 it’s OK to have sex?

It’s legal, except with someone who’s in a ‘position of trust’. This includes teachers, carers and doctors, who we trust to look after us.

It’s illegal for them to have sex with anyone under the age of 18 in their care.

Just because you’ve blown out 16 candles on your birthday cake, doesn’t mean you’re ready for sex. Do what feels right for you. Just make sure you understand what sex is about and get clued-up on safe sex and contraception first, and don’t do anything you’re not completely comfortable with.

  • NO Means NO!!

If you are asked about having sex and you say “not today”, “I don’t fancy it” or just simply “NO” then that means no! If the sexual act continues and you are coerced into having sex then that in the eyes of the law is rape. You did not consent to the act and therefore it was un-consensual sex. This is the same for men, Guys if the girl says no then it means no whether you fancy it or not.

  • Having sexting photos or videos on your phone or computer

If you are under the age of 18, the law sees you as a child. Therefore, if you have any indecent images or videos of somebody who is under 18 you would technically be in possession of an indecent image of a child – even if you are the same age. This is an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

  • Sending sexting photos or videos 

If you are under 18 and you send, upload or forward indecent images or videos onto friends or boyfriends/girlfriends, this would also be breaking the law, even if they are photos of yourself (‘selfies’).

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