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Personal integrity and respect for other people is crucial. Players are scrutinised for their behaviour off field as much as they are for their performance on field. Make sure you are aware of what is consent and sexual consent.

The legal definition of consent is when a person has a choice, and the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Sexual consent is where there is freedom of choice and capacity to choose to have sex by all parties involved.

The law in Britain says that both people have to give consent before sex or physical closeness. The law also says that a person must be over 16 and be capable of making an informed decision as to whether to have sex or not.

Making sure you have sexual consent

  • Sex with any girl/boy under 16 is unlawful, as is kissing or any other form of sexual contact. It doesn’t make any difference if permission (consent) is given or not, if you are under 16 sex is illegal.
  • Players must be aware of developing relationships with anyone under the age of 16, particularly on social media where the age of someone may not be immediately apparent.
  • Consent to one sort of sexual activity does not mean you are getting consent to everything. Permission is required for each stage of the sexual process and communication is key.
  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time. If your partner changes their mind, it’s their right to do so.
  • Even if you have had sex with someone before, you still need permission the next time.
  • Giving oral sex to someone without permission is illegal. If you are male, forcing someone to give you oral sex is rape.
  • If you do not get consent – it’s rape.
  • If drugs, alcohol or legal highs have been consumed then the clarity of consent by both parties could be questioned.

More things to look out for to make sure you have sexual consent

  • When it comes to sex or physical closeness you should feel safe with your partner, be able to trust them and feel that they would respect you whatever your decision.
  • Good communication between you both will help to ensure you know how your partner feels about sex or physical closeness. It is a good idea to check things out with your partner by asking if they are enjoying what you are doing and asking if they want to continue.
  • Reading body language is also important.  If your partner is relaxed it is likely that they feel comfortable. If they are tense, they may be nervous or frightened and are probably trying to hide how they really feel.
  • Someone doesn’t have to say the word ‘NO’ to withhold their permission, there are lots of ways they might say they don’t want to do something or have sex.
  • Look out for signs of someone not consenting to sex – sometimes people might find it hard to say anything at all if they don’t want to have sex, so for example if someone stops kissing you or doesn’t want to be hugged or held, this could be a sign of non-consent.
  • Don’t ignore it.
  • If one person doesn’t want to have sex, the other person just needs to accept that, it’s not ok to try and change their minds as pressuring someone into sex is rape and there are consequences.

Thames Valley force have produced this video featuring stick figures and cups of tea to highlight that consent is a simple concept…