TEL : 07988 360291 
View the course presentation HERE in Prezi 

Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (VAWG): 

Protecting women and girls from violence, and supporting victims and survivors of sexual violence, is a stated priority of the Government. In 2016, the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy was published. Download it HERE. 


Someone consents to vaginal, anal, or oral penetration only if they agree by choice to that penetration and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. 
Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g. to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. 
In investigating the suspect, it must be established what steps, if any, the suspect took to obtain the complainant’s consent, and the prosecution must prove that the suspect did not have a reasonable belief that the complainant was consenting. 
There is a big difference between consensual sex and rape. This section focuses on consent, as allegations of rape often involve the word of the complainant against that of the suspect. The aim is to challenge assumptions about consent and the associated victim-blaming myths/stereotypes, and highlight the suspect’s behaviour and motives to prove they did not reasonably believe the victim was consenting. We provide guidance to the police, prosecutors and advocates to identify and explain the differences, highlighting where evidence can be gathered and how the case can be presented in court. 
Victims of rape are often selected and targeted by offenders because of ease of access and opportunity - current partner, family, friend, someone who is vulnerable through mental health/learning/physical disabilities, someone who sells sex, someone who is isolated or in an institution, has poor communication skills, is young, in a current or past relationship with the offender, or is compromised through drink/drugs. This list is not exhaustive.  
Victims may be chosen for grooming because of their vulnerabilities. The suspect/offender may hope that these vulnerabilities will limit belief in the complainant by authority and a court. When a targeted person is the perpetrator's partner or family member, their vulnerability and risk is exacerbated by their proximity to the abuser and inability to leave. 


Context is all important to the consideration of freedom and capacity to choose. It is necessary to understand the person's state of mind in the context of all the relevant circumstances. 
These will include: 
their age, maturity and understanding. 
whether they knew or understood the position they were in and what they were being asked to do. 
the history of the relationship between the complainant and alleged abuser. 
power relationships. 
and, especially for younger and/or vulnerable victims*: 
any earlier provision by the suspected abuser of any gifts, alcohol, or drugs. 
promises by the suspected abuser of a more secure or exciting way of life. 
insincere compliments and/or kindness shown by the suspected abuser. 
any other evidence of exploitation or grooming so that they may not understand the full significance of what they are doing. 
* Ask for details of our SIPPS for CSE Training Programme and ABE Training. 

Aspects of Sexual Violence in Intimate Relationships: 

For the purposes of this course we are concerned with sexual violence in the context of intimate partner violence. It is impossible to provide a precise unambiguous definition of sexual violence and so, with that in mind, this course proposes the following definition which is adapted from "The Risk Of Sexual Violence Protocol" by Hart, Kropp, Laws, Klaver, Logan and Watt 2003: 
"Sexual violence is actual, attempted, or threatened sexual contact with another person that is non-consensual. Sexual contact may be construed broadly to include acts such as sexual battery (e.g. rate, sexual touching), communications of a sexual nature (e.g. exhibitionism, obscene letters or phone calls), and violating property rights for sexual purposes (e.g. voyeurism, theft of fetish objects)." 
Crucially, consent is absent if the sexual contact was coerced, i.e. it occurred without the victim’s ascent; or if the victim assented but was unable to appreciate the nature or consequences of the sexual contact due to factors such as immaturity or disability. In many cases, acts of sexual violence will constitute criminal offences even if they do not result in criminal arrest, charge, or conviction. 

Can Non-contact Sexual Abuse Constitute Sexual Violence? 

There are a number of behaviours that can be abusive, coercive, controlling, and threatening. As such, they can cause significant emotional and psychological harm. 
(Click each Behaviour to read more...) 
Stalking is not legally defined, but section 2A (3) of the PHA 1997 lists a number of examples of behaviours associated with stalking. The list is not an exhaustive one but gives an indication of the types of behaviour that may be displayed in a stalking offence. The listed behaviours are: 
(a) following a person. 
(b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means. 
(c) publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, or purporting to originate from a person. 
(d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication. 
(e) loitering in any place (whether public or private). 
(f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person. 
(g) watching or spying on a person. 
Harassment that includes one or more of the above features is not automatically stalking. The course of conduct, assessed in the round, must fit the generally received interpretation of the word 'stalking'. 
Prosecutors should note that the list in s.2A(3) is not exhaustive, and it will be open to courts to consider other acts by a defendant and conclude that those acts constitute stalking even if they are not on the s.2A(3) list. It is likely that the defence may argue particular acts "associated with stalking" should not be classed as stalking, but harassment, and that their client is guilty of harassment, not stalking. Where such an argument is raised, prosecutors should state that this should be a decision of fact for the magistrates to decide on. It is therefore imperative that the correct charge is laid from the outset. Section 2A is a summary offence, and a person guilty of the offence of stalking is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine. 
As a summary only offence, the section 2A offence requires an information or complaint to be laid within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose. The 6 months' limitation should run from the last date of the course of conduct alleged. 
Prosecutors should note that an integral part of the stalking offence is establishing that harassment has taken place. In determining whether the defendant ought to know that the course of conduct amounts to harassment, the question to be considered is whether a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other. 
(Source: Crown Prosecution Service) 
This often involves an individual allegedly filming somebody without their consent. for instance by using their mobile phones to record in swimming changing rooms, their place of work, public places like supermarkets, or even in their own homes. 
These cases are taken very seriously by the courts and carry a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment as well as a possible requirement to sign on as a registered sex offender, and possible future restriction as to being in possession of certain types of equipment or going to certain locations as part of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). 
There are three offences in the Sexual Offences Act (2003) that are designed to deal with activity that takes place in preparation for committing a 
sexual offence. These offences are: 
Administering a substance with the intent to stupefy or overpower the victim so as to enable any person to engage in sexual activity with them (section 61). 
Committing an offence to commit a relevant sexual offence (section 62). 
Trespass with intent to commit a relevant sexual offence (section 63). 
These offences can be charged where no sexual offence took place but the offender’s intention was that it would enable them to go on to commit a sexual offence. 
(Source: Sentencing Council Guidance) 
The term harassment is used to cover the 'causing alarm or distress' offences under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act (1997) as amended (PHA), and 'putting people in fear of violence' offences under section 4 of the PHA. The term can also include harassment by two or more defendants against an individual, or harassment against more than one victim. 
Although harassment is not specifically defined in section 7(2) of the PHA, it can include repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications and contact upon a victim in a manner that could be expected to cause distress or fear in any reasonable person. 
The definition of harassment was considered in Plavelil v Director of Public Prosecutions [2014] EWHC 736 (Admin), in which it was held that the repeated making of false and malicious assertions against a doctor in connection with an investigation by the GMC could amount to a course of harassment. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument that malicious allegations could not be oppressive if they could easily be rebutted. 
A prosecution under section 2 or 4 requires proof of harassment. In addition, there must be evidence to prove the conduct was targeted at an individual, was calculated to alarm or cause them distress, and was oppressive and unreasonable. 
Closely connected groups may also be subjected to 'collective' harassment. The primary intention of this type of harassment is not generally directed at an individual but rather at members of a group. This could include members of the same family, residents of a particular neighbourhood, groups of a specific identity including ethnicity or sexuality (for example, the racial harassment of the users of a specific ethnic community centre), harassment of a group of disabled people, harassment of gay clubs, or of those engaged in a specific trade or profession. 
Harassment of an individual can also occur when a person is harassing others connected with the individual, knowing that this behaviour will affect their victim as well as the other people that the person appears to be targeting their actions towards. This is known as 'stalking by proxy'. Family members, friends and employees of the victim may be subjected to this.  
(Source: Crown Prosecution Service) 


Materials supporting the Government's awareness raising campaign  
View a Case Study that Explains "Revenge Porn" Here in Prezi 

Rape Trauma Syndrome: 

Rape Trauma Syndrome describes the response that many survivors have to rape. It is very important to note that Rape Trauma Syndrome is the natural response of a psychologically healthy person to the trauma of rape so these symptoms do not constitute a mental disorder or illness. 
Physical aspects manifest in or upon the person's body that are evident to them and under physical examination. Some of these are only present immediately after the rape while others only appear at a later stage. 
Immediately after a rape, survivors often experience shock. They are likely to feel cold, faint, become mentally confused (disorientated), tremble, feel nauseous and sometimes vomit. 
Gynecological problems - irregular, heavier, and/or more painful periods; vaginal discharges; bladder infections; or sexually transmitted diseases; etc. 
Bleeding and/or infections from tears or cuts in the vagina or rectum. 
A soreness of the body. There may also be bruising, grazes, cuts, or other injuries. 
Nausea and/or vomiting. 
Throat irritations and/or soreness due to forced oral sex. 
Tension headaches. 
Pain in the lower back and/or in the stomach. 
Sleep disturbances. This may be difficulty in sleeping or feeling exhausted and needing to sleep more than usual. 
Eating disturbances - this may be not eating or eating less or needing to eat more than usual. 
Behavioural characteristics are the observable reactions, patterns of behaviour, lifestyle changes and changes in relationships. 
Crying more than usual. 
Difficulty concentrating. 
Being restless, agitated, and/or unable to relax or feeling listless and unmotivated. 
Not wanting to socialise or see anybody, or socialising more than usual, so as to fill up every minute of the day. 
Not wanting to be alone. 
Stuttering or stammering. 
Avoiding anything that reminds the survivor of the rape. 
Being more easily frightened or startled than usual. 
Being very alert and watchful. 
Becoming easily upset by small things. 
Relationship problems with family, friends, lovers and spouses. 
Fear of sex, loss of interest in sex or loss of sexual pleasure. 
Changes in lifestyle such as moving house, changing jobs, not functioning at work or at school, or changes to appearance. 
Drop in school, occupational or work performance. 
Increased substance abuse. 
Increased washing or bathing. 
Behaving as if the rape didn’t occur, trying to live life as it was before the rape - this is called denial. 
Suicide attempts and other self-destructive behaviour such as substance abuse or self- mutilation. 
Psychological characteristics can be partially or completely hidden. People generally refer to inner thoughts, ideas and emotions. 
Increased fear and anxiety. 
Self-blame and guilt. 
Helplessness, no longer feeling in control of your life. 
Humiliation and shame. 
Lowering of self esteem. 
Feeling dirty or contaminated by the rape. 
Feeling alone and that no one understands. 
Losing hope in the future. 
Emotional numbness. 
Loss of memory. 
Constantly thinking about the rape. 
Having flashbacks to the rape, feeling like it is happening again. 
Suicidal ideation. 

Myths and Assumptions Concerning Cases of Sexual Violence: 

The form of dress a person wears does not mean they should expect to be raped. 
The majority of rape cases are where the offender and complainant know each other. 
Trauma can affect memory and create inconsistency. 
Being drunk makes the complainant vulnerable. It does not mean they were ‘asking for it’. 
Most victims do not fight; resistance and self-protection/defence can be through dissociation, freezing or trying to befriend the defendant – in fact any effort to prevent, stop or limit the event. It does not have to succeed to be an ‘effort’. 
Late reporting may be due to inability to cope with the trauma of the incident, fear of repercussions, maturity with age recognising the abuse, control of the complainant, fear of going to court. 
In cases of adult survivors of child abuse, the complainant may regress and behave or speak as a child. 

Click HERE to visit the Early and Forced Marriage page. 

Click HERE to visit the Risk Assessment and Management page. 

Click HERE to visit our 'Children With Sexually Harmful Behaviours' page. 

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