Consent is given if someone agrees by choice and they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. 
Let’s break this down into 3 parts. 
  1. Freedom means not being pressured, coerced, blackmailed, threated, made to feel obligated, etc. and the person can change their mind at any time.   
  2. Having capacity means the person can make and communicate a decision, understand the consequences and know they have a choice. Being drunk, high/stoned, unconscious, or asleep does not give a person capacity.  
  3. Consent is an ever changing agreement, where it can change before or during sexual activity, the next time or the time after that, or at any time whatsoever.  
We all have the right to not want sex or any other kind of sexual activity – for example, kissing, sexual touching or performing sexual acts. 
We have the right to change our minds at any time, or to consent to doing one sexual thing with someone but not anything else. 
If you do not have consent, then any kind of sexual activity is sexual violence. 
It is NOT consent if you or someone else is: 
  • Asleep, unconscious, drunk, drugged or 'on' drugs. 
  • Pressured, manipulated, tricked or scared into saying yes. 
  • Too young or vulnerable to have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. 
If someone’s unsure whether the other person is giving their consent for something sexual, they should always check with them. 
What does sexual consent look like? 
  • It is enthusiastic body language and verbal communication. 
  • Talking to the other person about what each of you want to do and don't want to do, and listening and respecting their boundaries. 
  • Checking in with the other person – for example, asking ‘is this okay?’, ‘do you want to slow down?’ or ‘do you want to stop?’
  • Respecting someone’s choice if they say ‘no’ and never trying to change their mind or put pressure on them. 
  • Consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help you and your partner understand and respect each other’s boundaries. 
  • Other signs of sexual consent are positive body language, responsiveness, and affirmation that your partner wants to continue to engage in sexual activity with you (e.g. saying yes enthusiastically) 
  • If your partner isn't responding or engaging with you, they might not want to continue. Check if they are still ok to keep going. 
  • Remember, if someone is too drunk to say yes, or if they are asleep, you should assume that they have not given consent to sexual activity with you. 
What does consent NOT look like? 
  • Feeling like you have to agree to sex or other sexual activity because you’re worried about the other person’s reaction if you say ‘no’. 
  • Having sex with you or touching you in a sexual manner when you’re asleep or unconscious. 
  • Continuing with sexual activity despite your non-verbal cues that you don’t want it to continue or you’re not sure – for example, if you pull away, freeze or seem uncomfortable. 
  • Assuming that you want to have sex or take part in other sexual activity because of your actions or what you’re wearing – for example, flirting, accepting a drink, wearing a short skirt. 
  • Assuming that you want to have sex or take part in other sexual activity with them because you’ve had sex or taken part in other sexual activity with them before. 
  • Assuming that you want to take part in one type of sexual activity because you wanted to take part in another, for example assuming you want to have intercourse, because you agreed to oral sex. 
  • Removing a condom during sex after you only agreed to have sex with one (what is known as 'stealthing'). 
Remember, if there was no consent then it was sexual assault. 
If you’re in a sexual encounter with someone and they ask you to stop and you don’t stop, you’re committing sexual assault. It’s as simple as that. 
Tips for talking with your partner about consent 
  • Think about your desires and boundaries 
  • Communicate your boundaries 
  • With an open mind, ask if they are interested in being sexual with you 
  • Make specific requests 
  • Speak up if you are unsure 
  • Speak up if you change your mind 
  • Check-in with your partner 
  • Ask if you want to do something else 
  • Ask every time, and be open to any response; accept a “no” as readily as a “yes” 
If you have been affected by sexual misconduct or violence and would like some support, either make a report via Report and Support or visit our Support Available page

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