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Rape and Sexual Assault

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Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes. Both men and women can be affected and in many cases the victim will already know their attacker.

Having sex with or sexually touching someone who hasn't consented to it is an offence. The maximum sentence a judge can impose is life imprisonment and the individual will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

Rape and sexual assault are never the victim's fault. The responsibility rests solely with the perpetrator. 

What is rape?

Rape is when a person has sexual intercourse with another person and the victim does not or cannot consent.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when a person intentionally touches another person in a sexual way and the victim does not or cannot consent.

What is sexual consent?

Sexual consent is when a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. They must have the mental capacity to be able make an informed decision. They must be able to understand the consequences and know that they have a choice. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. 

Things you should know

  • Sex without consent is rape, which is a serious crime with serious consequences. A conviction for rape means prison. 
  • Just because someone doesn’t say ‘no’ or physically try to resist, it doesn’t mean they are consenting to sex. They may be frightened, or they may have had too much to drink.
  • Someone who is very drunk does not have the capacity to give consent. If you have sex with someone who is too drunk to give their consent, it’s rape.
  • Any form of unwanted sexual touching is a crime, whether or not it leads to rape. 
  • The police will thoroughly investigate all incidents of rape and sexual assault reported to them.
  • If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, it is important that you get help and support. You don’t need to report it to the police if you don’t want to – there are other organisations that can help
  • We know that rape can happen to men too. The police and other agencies will provide the same level of support to a man as they would to a woman, and will treat all reports of sexual assault sensitively and seriously. However, if you would prefer to talk to someone else, organisations such as Northamptonshire Rape Crisis and Serenity can provide the support you need

 

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