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What is consent?

Consent and chemsex

What is rape and sexual assault?

Sexual assault & rape support

Reporting sexual violence

Legal definition of consent:

“Agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”.


Freedom: Whether the person was in a position to make that choice freely, and was not constrained, pressured, threatened, deceived, manipulated.


Capacity: Whether a person had the capacity and understanding to make a choice about taking part in a sexual activity

  • People who are asleep, unconscious or going under on drugs and/or alcohol, cannot consent.  

  • A person does not need to be unconscious to lose their capacity to consent.  

  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time  

  • Meeting a person/people for sex does not mean you have consented to any sexual activity  

  • If you are not sure that someone is consenting or able to consent, don’t have sex with them.

Sexual Offences Act 2003


Section 1 – Rape – intentional penetration of a vagina, mouth or anus with a penis without consent or reasonable belief of consent


Section 2 – Assault by Penetration - of vagina or Anus, intentionally, without consent/reasonable belief of consent with a body part or object


Section 3 – Sexual Assault – intentional sexual touching of another person without consent/reasonable belief of consent


Section 4 – Intentionally causing a person to engage in a sexual activity without consent/reasonable belief of consent

If you have experienced a sexual assault but are unsure what to do next, you can attend a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for a forensic exam.


The SARC will store forensics evidence for 2 years whilst you decide on your next steps.


A SARC can provide 24/7 specialist medical and forensic services, including:

  • Forensic examinations

  • ISVA services

  • Private space for interviews

  • Sexual health services

  • Counselling services.

  • Emergency contraception & medication e.g. Pep, Hep B, PEP first injection


Greater Manchester SARC (open 24 hours):


The Old St Mary’s Hospital

York Pl St

Oxford Rd

Manchester, M13 9WL


Phone: 0161 276 6515


Find your local SARC:

Consent Support

Reporting options:  

  • Reporting to the police via 101 – a sexual offences investigation trained officer would attend to take an initial report and an investigation would commence  

  • If you are in immediate danger call emergency services on 999

  • Provide anonymous intelligence via the crimestoppers website, or with support from a sexual violence service


Consent Support

An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) can provide practical and emotional support and discuss reporting options with you. If you proceed to report to the police, your ISVA will guide you through navigating the Criminal Justice System, from report to court. 


You can search for ISVA services near you, with Manchester options including:

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