SOUTHEND-ON-SEA | ROCHFORD | CASTLE POINT
email: firstname.lastname@example.org | call: 01702 667590
SERVICES FOR WOMEN
WHAT IS CONSENT?
Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says "yes" to sexual activity with other persons. Consent is always freely given and all people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say "yes" or "no" or stop the sexual activity at any point.
Consent is never assumed
Each of us is responsible for making sure we have consent in every sexual situation. If you are unsure, it is important to clarify what your partner feels about the sexual situation before initiating or continuing the sexual activity. Consent should not simply be assumed by:
- Body language, Appearance, or Non-Verbal Communication: One should never assume by the way a person dresses, smiles, looks or acts, that they to have sex with you.
- Dating relationships or previous sexual activity: Simply because two or more people are dating or have had sex in the past does not mean that they are consenting to have sex with you.
- Marriage/Partnership: A person should not assume they have consent for sexual activity.
- Previous Activity: Consent to engage in one sexual activity at one time is not consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage in the same sexual activity on a later occasion.
- Silence, Passivity, Lack of Resistance, or immobility: A person’s silence should not be considered consent. A person who does not respond to attempts to engage in sexual activity, even if they do not verbally say no or resist physically, is not clearly agreeing to sexual activity.
- Incapacitation: Alcohol consumption or use of other drugs can render a person incapable of giving consent. Alcohol is often used as a weapon to target individuals and is used by perpetrators to excuse their own actions.
Watch this video about consent:
WHAT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE?
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to:
- sexual assault
- child sexual abuse
- sexual harassment
- rape within marriage/relationships
- forced marriage
- so-called honour-based violence
- female genital mutilation
- sexual exploitation
- ritual abuse
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone. No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen.
If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.
PRE TRIAL THERAPY FAQs
What is Pre Trial Therapy?
Pre Trial Therapy is counselling that is offered to a victim or witness while the criminal justice process is on-going and a trial may be possible.
From the point when you report what happened to the police to the time when all court proceedings are complete, SOS Rape Crisis can offer a limited style of counselling to ensure that you feel emotionally supported whilst also trying not influencing the evidence you would give in court.
How is it different from other counselling?
Before you give evidence in court you are requested not to discuss your testimony with anyone in any details. As a result of this, in pre-trial therapy you should not talk about anything that is in your police statement or maybe relevant to the case.
This usually means that you should not talk about the event for which you have come to SOS Rape Crisis for support which can feel like the ‘elephant in the room’. You and your SOS Rape Crisis counsellor will decide in the first session what you will use the counselling for so that it can still be helpful for you.
What can I use it for?
Just like other SOS Rape Crisis counselling, you will see the same therapist at regular appointments.
You can talk about what you are thinking and feeling at the moment and work on making changes, for example: to your self-esteem or within relationships.
You can work on coping strategies for dealing with what happened to you and talk about the impact it has had on you, as long as you don’t talk about the specific memories.
You can talk about any worries you have about the police or court process and this will be passed onto your assigned ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) so that she can support and talk you through the Criminal Justice Process.
Pre-trial counselling is often used to deal with emotional distress in day to day life during the Criminal Justice process. You may reach a point where you feel you cannot make any more progress or feel any better without talking through what happened, when this is the case you can bring this to your therapists attention and then share your concerns regarding the case with your assigned ISVA.
Why can’t I talk about what happened with my SOS Rape Crisis counsellor?
If you go over what has happened in counselling it could be argued that you have been ‘coached’ about what to say in court. This could have an effect upon the way your evidence is viewed by the Court and the outcome of the trial.
What if it is decided by the Authorities that no further action will be taken regarding my report to the police?
Work with your therapist will continue under the guide of the SOS Rape Crisis Counselling Agreement with an offer of up to 20 therapeutic counselling sessions available to you.
Will my notes be used in court?
Though it happens very rarely, it is possible that we could receive a request from the prosecutor or a court order saying we must disclose your counselling records. If this were to happen, the prosecution would need to release the information to the defence lawyer – this means that the suspect may have access to some of these notes in these rare cases. SOS Rape Crisis counselling notes are only factual and any information shared will be with signed consent by you for example: dates and times of face to face sessions attended. There is a possibility that this information may be used as evidence in court.
What about after the trial?
Once the court process has ended you will be closed to your ISVA within a 4-6 week period to tie up anything still related to the Criminal Justice System. Your SOS Rape Crisis counselling will continue until you have completed your 20 sessions. There may be occasion to extend the number of sessions beyond 20 sessions – this will be an informed decision by the Senior Sexual Violence Counsellor at SOS Rape Crisis.