There have been a number of cases in recent years focussing on the death and sexual assault of gay/bi men by other other gay men, involving the use of hook up apps and chemsex. We hope that knowing your rights and responsibilities within the law could help you stay safer.
When we talk about consent, what we mean is that:
Agreeing to meet up with someone via an app, going to a sex/cruise bar or going to chemsex party/chillout does not mean you are agreeing to whatever anyone else wants to do. You have to work it out as you go along. And the law says you can change your mind at any point.
The law says to be able to consent to sex you must have the capacity to consent.
If you are asleep, unconscious or so out of it that you can’t make a decision for yourself then you cannot consent. Whatever anyone does to you while you’re in this state is done without your consent and that makes it a crime.
Consent has to be freely given. If you are threatened or coerced into saying yes, then you are not giving your consent freely. This can invalidate your ‘yes’ and may mean the person/people having sex with you are committing a crime.
Taking advantage of someone because they are ‘out of it’ or unsure, vulnerable or inexperienced is not okay – it’s a crime.
If you are not sure if someone is consenting, stop, wait, talk, listen and think
If bad stuff happens to you, it’s not your fault
People who are sexually assaulted often ask themselves if it was their fault or whether they could have done something different to prevent being assaulted. It is very important to be clear: it is not your fault. No one has the right to take advantage of an intimate situation to hurt you.
If you’re taking drugs/chems, having sex with a lot of guys, accidently over-dosing, experienced or new to the apps/chemsex/gay scene, none of that gives someone else the right to take advantage of the situation to sexually assault you – or commit any other crimes, like robbery, filming you without consent or blackmailing you.
Speak up if you’ve been sexually assaulted
If you’ve been sexual assaulted by someone you met via an app, or you’re confused about what happened to you, don’t feel you need to keep quiet about it. Specialist independent advice is available:
Everyone is entitled to call 999 if they are in danger or have just been a victim of crime.