It’s all about consent Date published: 4th January 2016 8.40am

A couple of months ago, a slightly controversial TV program asked a group of teenagers and viewers at home to decide whether they believe someone had committed rape.

The programme was based around a scenario at a party, where the two individuals involved had drunk alcohol. The question hanging over the scenario was around consent, which provoked an interesting debate between those watching it in the room, and viewers at home.

In a series of features, Cheshire Police has tried to continue the debate, by providing a case study from an specialist officer’s perspective, and the work done by the Dedicated Rape Unit.

John Dwyer, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said,

“Rape and sexual assaults are one of the most serious crimes that the police deal with, and the repercussions for the victim and the offender can have life changing consequences.
“In the case featured on the TV program the question was raised around the impact of alcohol and consent and the importance of making sure you give or get consent.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Serena Kennedy, Head of the Public Protection Directorate said,

“In many cases of rape or sexual assault, the victim usually knows the offender. The scenario on the TV program, highlighted the issue of consent and alcohol. In these situations people can assume that they have consent when they have not. This is no excuse -consent to sexual activity is very defined in law and it must be given fully and freely.
It is not a crime to have too much to drink but it is a crime for a rapist to target somebody who unable to consent to sex through drink.
“We take reports of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously, and our specialist officers in the Dedicated Rape Unit provide a bespoke service that meets each victim’s needs. I would encourage anyone who has been subjected to the harrowing experience of a sexual assault to report it.”

In recent months, Cheshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have prosecuted multiple perpetrators of rape and sexual assault with custodial sentences, securing justice for victims and helping them to gain closure.

“We’re here for victims and our officers are determined to get justice for them,”added Detective Chief Supt Kennedy.“If anyone has been subjected to a sexual assault they need to tell us about it. I would urge anyone reading this, who has been subjected to a sexual assault to talk to us. We’ll listen and we care about you. We want to stop the offender subjecting another person to the same crime and we can’t do this without your help.”

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, contact Cheshire Police on 101. If you’re in immediate danger always dial 999.

Thames Valley Police have released a short film likening consent to tea, titled ‘Consent, it’s as simple as tea’.