Sexual assault is a criminal offence and contrary to RVC’s Dignity at Work and Study and Misconduct Policies.
A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent.
It involves all unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature and ranges from pinching, embracing, groping and kissing, to rape and serious sexual assault which involves penetration without consent.
Other useful definitions
Rape is the penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth, by a penis, without consent.
Sexual violence is a term used to describe any sexual behaviour that is not consensual, for example rape or sexual assault. But it isn't limited to physical violence – coercive behaviour, sexual harassment and voyeurism can all constitute sexual violence. It can affect anybody regardless of their gender or sexuality.
Victim blaming is when the victim of an offence is held responsible or partly responsible for what happened to them.
Sexting means sending a sexually explicit image, video or message either using a mobile phone or online.
Revenge porn is a form of image-based sexual abuse. This term includes creating, disclosing or threatening to disclose nude, sexual or sexually explicit photographs, films or messages without consent and with intent to cause distress. The perpetrator may be a partner, an ex-partner, a friend, family member, acquaintance, colleague or a stranger. While some perpetrators may be motivated out of desire to seek revenge, others might engage in this behaviour for other reasons, such as peer pressure or sexual gratification.
Sexual consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in a sexual activity. There must be freedom and capacity to make this choice. Capacity is based on the person:
- Being the right age
- Being sober
- Having the mental and physical ability to freely agree
- Not being threatened or afraid of harm
- Not being detained against their will
- Sex without consent is a crime; either rape or sexual assault
- It’s OK to consent to one form of sexual activity but not to another
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
- It’s not enough to assume someone wants sex, consent should be sought and freely given with no coercion.
All RVC students have access to ‘Consent Matters’. Consent Matters is a concise and accessible online course that provides interactive, evidence-based training in sexual consent, communication and relationships, and bystander intervention.
Tea and Consent
Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios
Find out more
- Citizens Advice. Provide information on rape and sexual assault.
- Met. Police Provide further information on definitions of sexual assault, rape and consent.
- Rape Crisis. Provide information on the different types of sexual violence.