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Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Office (SeMPRO)

How to get help: Call 1800 SeMPRO (1800 736 776) 24/7 | Immediate danger? Call 000 (AUS) | Exit Site


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If sex occurs without consent, or if consent is withdrawn, any sex which occurs after that point is sexual assault and could potentially result in a criminal conviction or disciplinary action.

Actively seeking confirmation, without force or coercion, is required to ensure both parties are consenting. You should be aware of the current state of the other person (i.e. are they intoxicated, asleep or affected by drugs) to ensure that their consent is not only actively, but knowingly, given. Submission does not equate to consent.

Consent requires 'free agreement'. A person cannot be said to freely agree where they:

  • Are fearful for themselves or for someone else;
  • Have been threatened – their life, job, career, reputation, family, training status etc;
  • Are mistaken about the identity of the person or the nature of the sexual act;
  • Are incapable of consenting because of the influence of alcohol or other drug(s);
  • Are legally deemed incapable of giving consent because of youth; or
  • Have a temporary or permanent incapacity.

A commonly used defence for sexual assault is that the victim had a varied sex life and had had sex in the past many times with many people, leading to the assumption that s/he had consented to have sex with the offender. Another common defence is that the victim had had consensual sex with the offender in the past, and therefore any future sex is assumed to be consensual.

These beliefs are absolutely incorrect.