Police Scotland launch 'Get Consent' rape campaign

Posters carrying the hashtag #GetConsent Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption The campaign is aimed at 18-35 year olds using social media and advertising in bars and clubs

A campaign driving home the message that sex without consent is rape has been launched by Police Scotland.

Officers say a fifth of the rapes reported to them are from victims who were asleep or suffering from the effects of drink or drugs at the time.

The "We Can Stop It" campaign will target men aged between 18 and 35, who are most likely to be responsible.

It involves social media messaging using the hashtag #GetConsent and advertising in clubs and pubs.

'Too drunk'

Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald said: "In 2018 in Scotland sadly there are men who think it is OK to have sex with someone who is sleeping or suffering from the effects of alcohol or drugs.

"Approximately 20% of all rapes reported to Police Scotland are committed in such circumstances.

"Investigations carried out by Police Scotland shows that men aged between 18-35 years are more likely to be responsible and we want to send a strong message to them that sex without consent is rape, and if the person is unable to give consent to sexual activity, for whatever reason, it is rape."

Rape Crisis Scotland works with police and health services and provides a national helpline for anyone affected by sexual violence.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "If you have any concerns that the person you are with is too drunk to consent or participate, you shouldn't go ahead because there is a serious danger that they are unable to consent to sex."

Last year the charity ran a prevention programme, involving 13,000 young people.

"What we found was that they did not know what the law said about rape was, in particular these circumstances where somebody is so drunk they can't consent," she said.

"Its really important to make sure that everyone is clear, that this behaviour isn't only wrong, its criminal behaviour and it could have very serious consequences."

Image copyright PA

Ms Brindley said prevention work must also take place at an earlier age:

"What is really important is prevention work in schools, talking about consent and healthy sexual relationships.

"Discussions about healthy relationships are crucial if we are to have any chance of decreasing the number of reported rapes we are seeing in Scotland.

"It must include looking at consent and healthy relationships. We can't only focus on the physical aspect of sex which is sometimes the focus of sex education."

Assistant Chief Constable MacDonald added: "Tackling rape is a priority for Police Scotland. We are acutely aware that sexual crime is under reported. The reasons for this can be complex, however, the only person responsible for such offences is the perpetrator."

The campaign, launched on 15 February, is supported by a range of partner organisations.

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