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The following links below mark the 21 most recent pages you have visited in Sunderland.ac.uk.

Consent Matters

Consent is everything. Sexual consent is where a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. Sex without consent is rape. You can find out more about consent, what it is and why it is important by watching the video below:

Understanding Consent

Consent is defined in the Sexual Offences NI Order 2007 when a person agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice; including not being impaired by alcohol or drugs.

It is an offence of sexual assault for a person intentionally to touch another person sexually without reasonable belief that they consented. Touching covers all physical contact, whether with a part of their body, with another object, or through clothing. Examples of sexual assault or rape can include;

  • Sexual contact with someone whom you reasonably should have known was impaired due to the use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Sexual contact with someone who is “passed out” or sleeping.
  • Sexual contact with someone who is unable to say “no” and/or change his/her mind due to the presence of coercion or intimidation.
  • Sexual contact with someone who is under the legal age to consent.

Consent can never be assumed. For example, the need for seeking consent still applies:

  • If you are married
  • If you have had sexual relationships with the person before, or are in a relationship with the person
  • If the person previously gave consent but later changed their mind


  • Making sure you get and give consent really matters.
  • Sex without consent is rape.
  • Sexual assault is always the perpetrator’s fault.
  • Sexual assault is an offence that can result in imprisonment.

Report it! Get supported!

Telling someone about your concerns can be a first step to getting the right information and support. We will support you even if you don’t want to progress any concern formally either with the University or the Police. If you wish to remain anonymous you can do so using the on-line reporting tool.

You can report an incident or a concern directly to:

You can report an incident or a concern in person, directly to a University Safeguarding Officer


Our staff will listen to your concerns and connect you with the support and guidance you need.

We will always treat your concerns in confidence. We will discuss with you if we need to share information with others. Please see our confidentiality policy for more information.

External Support Available

Seek support

Northumbria Police Telephone Number: Non-Emergency 101/Emergency 999

NHS Help after rape and sexual assault

Rape and sexual assault referral centres: REACH Sunderland - Northumbria SARC
Telephone Number: 0191 221 9222

Karma Nirvana National Helpline - Support for victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse
Telephone Number: 0800 5999 247
Contact email address: 

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumbria - Rape Crisis covers Tyneside and Northumbria and offers support and information to women who have experienced rape or sexual assault
Telephone Number: 0800 035 2794.

National Rape Crisis Helpline - Confidential support and/or information about nearest services
Telephone Number: 0808 802 9999

Rape and Sexual Assault Overseas
Guidance on what to do if sexually assaulted abroad
Telephone Number: 0800 5999 247 

Supporting a victim of sexual assault

For relatives and friends of someone who has been sexually assaulted, read the below advice retrieved from The Havens website

  • Don't judge them, don't blame them. A sexual assault is never the fault of the person who is abused.
  • Listen to the person, but don't ask for details of the assault. Don't ask them why they didn't stop it. This can make them feel as though you blame them.
  • Offer practical support, such as going with them to appointments.
  • Respect their decisions – for example, whether or not they want to report the assault to the police.
  • Bear in mind they might not want to be touched. Even a hug might upset them, so ask first. If you're in a sexual relationship with them, be aware that sex might be frightening, and don't put pressure on them to have sex.
  • Don't tell them to forget about the assault. It will take time for them to deal with their feelings and emotions. You can help by listening and being patient. Find your nearest rape and sexual assault services, including SARCs.
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