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What is sexual consent and how to seek support and advice

Consent - what is it?

Consent is the agreement by choice where the individual has both the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Consent cannot be assumed based on a previous sexual experience or previously given consent, or from the absence of complaint, and each new sexual act requires a re-confirmation of consent as the foundation of a healthy and respectful sexual relationship. Consent may be withdrawn at any time before or during a sexual act. 

Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. 

Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if they agree by choice to that penetration and they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Further information about consent can be found here: Rape Crisis England & Wales - Sexual consent.

If you think you have been the target of sexual misconduct, assault or harassment, it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. What happened was not your fault. What you do next is your choice.

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