Although what the law says is important, it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is your experience and how you feel about it. However, it can be helpful to know what the law says about sexual violence.
Scottish Law defines rape and sexual assault in the following way:
Rape: the penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with a penis without consent
Assault by penetration: the penetration of the vagina or anus of another person with a part of their body or anything else without consent
Sexual assault: sexually touching another person without their consent
The age of consent in Scotland is 16. The information below makes clear the specifics about your age, the age of your partners, and the law.
The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 tell us that consent means ‘free agreement’. The law is clear that you can withdraw your consent at any time. The law says there are some situations where you can’t give free agreement, and these are:
- When someone is incapable of consenting because of the effects of alcohol or drugs
- When someone is asleep or unconscious
- When someone agrees because they are unlawfully detained
- When someone agrees because of threats of violence
- When someone agrees because the person is pretending to be someone else
Consent is also only considered legal in Scotland over the age of 16, this is referred to as the ‘age of consent’. This is the case whether they are straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender.