About sex and consent

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About sex and consent

  • Sexual contact without consent is sexual assault;
  • Consent must be given freely and voluntarily;
  • Consent is required every time you have sexual contact;
  • It's okay to change your mind, including in intimate relationships like marriage or dating;
  • Children under 16 cannot give consent to sexual contact.

What is consent?

Consent is the foundation of respectful relationships and sex. A person consents to sexual activity if they freely and voluntarily agree to it. Consent is required each and every time a person / people have sexual contact, including within an intimate relationship.

Sexual violence in intimate partnerships (like being married or dating someone) is common. It is a tactic of domestic or family violence. It is often used by someone to control and abuse their intimate partner.

Sexual assault in intimate relationships is a crime for which the perpetrator is solely responsible.

Anyone who experiences sexual violence is entitled to support, and legal and medical assistance.

Consent is the foundation of respectful relationships and sex. A person consents to sexual activity if they freely and voluntarily agree to it. Consent is required each and every time a person / people have sexual contact, including within an intimate relationship.

When and how do I know if there is consent?

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia encourage anyone engaging in sexual contact to look for enthusiastic consent.

Enthusiastic consent is two or more people freely and willingly engaging in sexual interactions because they want to.

Enthusiastic consent asks that people check in with the other person or people to make sure that they are enthusiastic about having sex and that they want to be there.

A person cannot give consent if:

  • They are under the age of consent;
  • They are so affected by drugs or alcohol that they can't consent;
  • They are unconscious or asleep;
  • They are threatened or coerced.

Someone may not be able to give consent because of a disability or impairment or because the other person holds a position of power or authority over them.

If a person did not or could not give consent to the sexual contact, this is sexual assault.

If a person changes their mind about the sexual consent after it has begun, and it is not then stopped, this is sexual assault.

If you or someone you know is unsure if they have been sexually assaulted, it may be helpful to talk to one of our counsellors:

Get in touch:

NSW Rape Crisis
Available 24/7.
Sexual Assault Counselling Australia
For those affected by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Available 24/7.
Online counselling
Online counselling is also available 24/7.