Consent Matters

Always play by the rules

Sexual consent matters. Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault and is always a crime. It isn’t enough to assume someone has given consent for sexual activity. It is essential that each person in a sexual encounter is sure that anyone else involved has given their full consent. The best way to make sure of this is to ask them.

For more information you are encouraged to complete the Consent Matters Course on Canvas and review information about sexual consent.

Sexual consent is…

Respect for one another’s personal boundaries and wellbeing is at the heart of sexual consent.

It’s simple: sexual consent is given when someone says ‘yes’ to sexual activity – including kissing and touching. The response should be enthusiastic and positive and never be given if the person feels pressured or afraid.

Consent must always be given for a specific sexual activity at a specific time. It can never be assumed.

Sexual consent is not...

  • Sexual consent is not a ‘maybe’ or no response. If someone is not able to offer an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to questions about sexual activity you do not have consent and you should stop and talk to them.
  • Sexual consent is not ambiguous. Body language may indicate that a person is not certain about the sexual activity. If they pull away, cover their body or eyes, push you away or indicate in other non-verbal ways that they are unsure, you do not have consent and you should stop and talk to them.
  • Previous sexual encounters with a person are not consent for future encounters.
  • You must get consent each and every time for each and every sexual activity with each and every person.
  • Sexual consent can NOT be given by someone who is underage, forced or coerced, intoxicated, affected by drugs, asleep, or unconscious. Engaging in sexual activity with a person in any of these states is sexual assault. If you are unsure, that’s a ‘no’ to consent.
  • Sexual consent can be taken away at any time during a sexual encounter: people can change their minds. If this happens you no longer have consent and should stop. Respect the fact that even if a person doesn’t say ‘no’ it doesn’t mean ‘yes’.

Sex should be pleasurable and free from coercion or fear

Consensual sex between adults can be a highly pleasurable and rewarding activity. But sex without consent is sexual assault and is a crime that can cause lasting emotional damage. For the safety, wellbeing and pleasure of everyone involved always get consent. It’s that simple.

The University of Newcastle wants you to be safe from sexual assault or harassment. If you or someone you know needs help at any time, check out our Talking to Someone webpage for confidential services available.

More info

Want more information? Here are some great videos about sexual consent.

To find out more about sexual consent, visit Reachout.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.