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Supporting young people's sexual health

When is it not consent?

Without consent, any kind of sexual activity is sexual violence.

Consent must be freely given

  • If cannot be as a result of pestering, wearing someone down or making someone feel like they ‘owe’ you something.
  • Never try to persuade, pressure or encourage someone into doing things they do not want to do.
  • If the person you’re with doesn’t consent, or changes their mind, you might feel disappointment, but you do not have the right to make them feel bad or try to persuade them to do something they don’t want to.
  • No one can ever give consent for somebody else.

Capacity and consent

Capacity means being able to understand a situation, or information so you can make a decision freely and with knowledge.

The law says someone does not have the freedom and capacity to agree to sexual activity by choice if:

  • They are asleep or unconscious
  • They are drunk or ‘on’ drugs
  • Their drink has been spiked
  • They are too young
  • They have a mental disorder or illness that means they are unable to make a choice
  • They are being pressured, bullied, manipulated, tricked or cared into saying ‘yes’
  • The other person is using physical force against them

Any sexual activity in these circumstances is sexual assault or rape.

If you are not sure you do not have consent and you can find out more about What is Consent? at Young Scot

Whatever the situation there is someone who can help.


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