Sexual consent is a mutual and voluntary decision between participants.

Everyone involved agrees and decides on their accord to take part in sexual activity. The key to knowing if you have consent is good communication.

Sex without the consent of the other person is not sex. It is sexual assault. Please watch video.

Tips to ensure you fully understand consent

You should be in no doubt that the other person wants to be part of whatever is on offer. That includes both verbal saying ‘yes’ and the non-verbal signs, such as their body language is indicating they want to take part.

Consent is an ongoing conversation. A person can change their mind at any stage. Saying yes to one type of sexual act does not mean a blanket yes to all types of sexual activity. You need to continue to check in with your partner.

Check the non-verbal signs: Is the person comfortable? Are they indicating with non-verbal signs that they want to take part in that type of sexual activity? If unsure, always ask them. Sometimes, people feel pressured into saying ‘yes’ or are uncomfortable saying ‘no.’ If so, discuss the subject. Find out how they feel, what the want and what they enjoy.

Do not make fun of or try to continue to pressure them to change their mind. Accept their decision.

A person cannot give consent if they:

  • did not do or say anything to indicate consent
  • feel threatened or afraid
  • are being pressured into having sex or restrained against their wishes
  • are intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol to the point they cannot give clear consent
  • are asleep, unconscious or semi-conscious - a sleeping person cannot give consent even if they agreed to the sexual activity before they fell asleep
  • are mistaken about the nature of the act or the identity of the person they are having sex with
  • are under the age of consent - the age of consent varies between states, in Victoria that is usually 16 years of age but this can vary if one of the parties is in a supervisory relationship. Learn the legal facts on the Youth Law Australia website.

Respectful Behaviour and Culture module

Boundaries respect and positive intervention

All students are expected to complete the Respectful Behaviour and Culture module on your LMS or via Living at La Trobe.

The aim of this module is to:

  • help support you form healthy and respectful relationships
  • understand what consent looks like and how to communicate what you want
  • understand when consent cannot be given
  • learn how to be a positive bystander and intervene safely in a situation where consent is not present.

Supports and resources

Internal support

  • Emergency: In an emergency ring: 000 and then security 9479 2222
  • Safer Community: Provides advice, support and referrals on all forms of unacceptable behaviour including sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • Counselling support: Provides counselling support on a range of issues that may be affecting a person’s wellbeing.
  • La Trobe Out of Hours Support Line: for mental health and wellbeing concerns from 5.00 pm–9.00 am weeknights and weekends and public holidays.
  • Understanding Sexual Harm: A factsheet produced by our Safer Community team which explains sexual harm, the impacts, as well as how to best support someone affected and the services available.

External support

  • 1800 Respect: The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service. They provide advice and counselling support via phone and online chat.
  • CASA: We have partnered with the Victorian Centres for Sexual Assault to provide timely advice and support to victims of sexual assault and harassment. Specialist sexual assault counsellors are available on site in Bundoora and there are established links for other campuses.
  • Victoria Police Sexual Offence Investigation Team (SOCIT): Specially trained police to respond and investigate sexual offences which prioritise the needs of the victim. In an emergency ring: 000.
  • Men’s Line: Telephone and online counselling support for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.