13 January 2014
Sexual Consent

“Sex without consent, I suppose that is rape”: How young people in England understand sexual consent


Office of the Children’s Commissioner - November 2013


As part of its national Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups (CSEGG), the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has published a report on young people and sexual consent.

The aim of the report was to explore the ways in which consent is understood in children and young people’s worlds, and how these understandings shape their choices and experiences. The report also looks at how the social environments that children and young people navigate inform their understanding of consent and their expectations of relationships.


The findings of the report offer an interesting and often alarming insight into young people’s understanding of consent, coercion and rape.


The extent of muddled thinking about what constitutes both consent and rape is deeply worrying. The young people who participated in this research as well as so many others with whom we spoke throughout the two years of this Inquiry, were crying out for meaningful, honest information about sex and relationships and opportunities in which to safely explore these crucial issues so essential for a nourishing life.


To download a full copy of the report click here.