Sexual assault is a criminal offence and contrary to UELs Dignity at Work and Study Policy.

Definition: Coercion (n)
The act or process of persuading someone forcefully to do something that they do not want to do.

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 sexual assault which involves penetration without consent.

Consent is agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

  • A person is free to make a choice if nothing bad would happen to them if they said no.
  • Capacity is about whether someone is physically and/or mentally able to make a choice and to understand the consequences of that choice.
  • 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  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time.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.

Law on consent

The law says:
Sexual Assault is when a person intentionally touches another person sexually without
their consent.

Sexual assault is when any person (‘A’):
  • Intentionally touches another person (‘B’)
  • The touching is sexual
  • ‘B’ does not consent to the touching
  • ‘A’ does not reasonably believe that ‘B’ consents
Assault by penetration

A person commits assault by penetration if they intentionally penetrate the vagina or anus with another part of the body or anything else, without their consent.

‘A’ is guilty of assault by penetration if:
  • They intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of ‘B’ with a part of their body or anything else
  • ‘B’ does not consent to the penetration, and
  • ‘A’ does not reasonably believe that ‘B’ consents

‘A’ is guilty of rape if:
  • A person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (‘B’) with their penis
  • ‘B’ does not consent to the penetration, and
  • ‘A’ does not reasonably believe that ‘B’ consents
According to the law, only a person with a penis can commit rape (as the penetration has to be with a penis). However, both anyone can be raped. A rape can occur within a relationship/marriage

The law is clear- having any kind of sex without getting consent is rape or sexual assault. Make sure your partner is consenting. If in doubt, stop and get confirmation.

UEL students have access to an online learning tool called Consent Matters which is designed to help all students understand sexual consent, promote effective communication and respectful relationships, and empower students to be active bystanders. 


There are two ways you can tell us what happened