Shall we? Do you want to? Are you sure?
As part of our valuable work around the protection of vulnerable people we’ve launched a public engagement campaign called #GetConsent. The campaign aims to remind people about the importance of consent when engaging in any sexual activity and is a particular concern to Humberside Police as we move forward into the summer months. The summer months of June – August are the months which see the highest number of reports of sexual assault and rape in our area.
Did you know that 1 in 4 reported rapes or sexual offences in the Humberside area are directly linked to the night-time economy? And half of these incidents involve drugs and alcohol? Analysis shows that these offences often happen around midnight, typically coinciding with the closure of pubs and bars.
As Covid-19 restrictions ease we anticipate that people will start heading back out to enjoy the night-time economy more freely, socialising with friends, family and co-workers and indulging in food, drink and dancing. The aim of our #GetConsent campaign is primarily to educate and highlight the importance of consent with the reminder that consent is paramount. Each and every time.
Remember, sex without consent is rape.
To find out more about the context behind the campaign, please watch this short film.
In England and Wales, the legal definition of consent is in Section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. It states that “a person consents if they agree by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice”.
Consent is essentially an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated between partners when any activity takes place. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help everyone to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under pressure or threat, that isn’t considered consent because it was not given freely.
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is all about communication. And it should happen every time, for every type of activity. It doesn’t matter how you ask, but just make sure you ALWAYS ask for consent when engaging in any sexual activity.
Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothing. Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future. It’s important to discuss boundaries and expectations with a partner prior to engaging in any sexual activity.
It’s also important to note that someone can change their mind at any time and withdraw consent if they don’t feel comfortable. The best way to ensure that all parties are comfortable with any sexual activity is to talk about it, check in periodically, and make sure everyone involved consents before things progress.
To maintain a healthy relationship, it is important that all parties feel safe and comfortable before, during and after a sexual encounter. Remember, sex without consent is rape. This is a very serious criminal offence and if convicted, the offender could be sentenced to life imprisonment. The starting sentence for a conviction under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is five years. Once convicted, the offender would also be placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for life and be monitored continuously by Offender Managers (Police Officers).
The Blue Door:
Helpline: 0800 197 4787
Hull Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Service:
Helpline: 01482 329990
Helpline: 0300 303 1976
Out of hours support line: 08 08 16 89 111
Request Support link: www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/request-support
Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership (DAP):
Helpline: 01482 318759
Helpline: 0800 048 9944
Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP):
Helpline: 01482 396368
Galop (LGBTQ+) – previously Broken Rainbow:
Helpline: 0800 999 5248
Andy’s Man Club:
Helpline: 116 123
Helpline: 07539 321502
Corner House (Hull):
Helpline: 01482 327044
Hull DAP Male Victim Support:
Helpline: 01482 613978
CASA Centre (Care After Sexual Assault):
Helpline: 0330 223 0181
Helpline: 01482 305037 (Sexual Assault Referral Centre)
Helpline: 0800 1111
Helpline: 0808 802 4040
Men’s Helpline: 0808 801 0327
Men’s Advice Email: email@example.com
Helpline: 01482 442953
Have you been affected by the issue of consent?
If you think you might be a victim of rape or sexual assault and would like to discuss further, please:
Call the police on 101. Remember to always call 999 in an emergency situation.
If you are not ready to report the offence to the police, you can contact the Sexual Adult Referral Centre (SARC) based in Hull on 0330 223 0181 for support and advice. The SARC is independent from the police and provides support for all adult victims of rape.
Share your concerns with the appropriate Safeguarding Officer within your school, college or university.
Our #GetConsent campaign is running in conjunction with a live policing operation called 'Operation Contract'. Operation Contract is a Humberside Police initiative focused on maintaining a safe environment for those enjoying the night-time economy. The operation has been established to coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions with the aim of officers on the ground stopping and reducing opportunities for potential offenders to target vulnerable people, therefore preventing them from committing sexual offences, such as assault and rape.
As part of Operation Contract, officers will be proactively patrolling the key "night-life" hotspots in towns and cities across the Force area. Wearing both high–visibility and plain clothing, they’ll be speaking with door staff and licensees and building on existing relationships to help these gatekeepers spot the signs of potential concern before it turns into anything more alarming.
Whilst on patrol, officers will also be looking out for anyone behaving suspiciously with another person who looks too inebriated to take care of themselves. This could be someone trying to get someone else on their own into a dark corner or secluded spot - or leading them outside and into a taxi or unmarked car.
We are also working closely with a number of partner agencies who are involved in the night-time economy including the four local authorities, Universities and the OPCC along with local support groups such as the Street Angels.
We hope that this initiative, coupled with our awareness raising #GetConsent campaign, will make people feel safe when they’re out socialising and enjoying a night out. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our towns and cities are safe places for everyone.