What does the law say about consent?

Consent is another term for giving permission for something to happen.

You do not have to verbally protest or offer physical resistance to show that you have not consented.

There are certain situations (which are outlined in the Crimes Act 1964 – Section 128A) when you may allow sexual activity to occur, but that doesn’t mean you have consented to it. These situations include:

  • If you are forced or threatened that something may happen if you, or someone else, if you don’t allow the sexual activity.
  • If you are asleep or unconscious.
  • If you are so affected by alcohol or some other drug that you cannot consent, or cannot refuse to consent.
  • If you are affected by a intellectual, mental, or physical condition or impairment of such a nature and degree that you are unable to consent
  • If you allow the sexual activity because you are mistaken about whom the other person is.
  • If you allow the act because you are mistaken about its nature and quality, for example you have consented to a pap smear or prostate examination and the professional does something to you sexually that is not part of this examination.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 128A


Related pages:

Legal definitions

Sexual abuse and other sexual crimes