Sexual Consent in Northern Ireland: The Social and Legal Dimensions
This is the first of two Queen's Policy Engagement Briefing Papers by Dr Eithne Dowds. In this paper, Dr Dowds looks at how consent, despite being a key concept in the law on sexual offences in Northern Ireland, is subject to different and competing interpretations.
In Northern Ireland (NI) consent is a key concept in the law on sexual offences. Despite its centrality to determining the existence of a criminal offence, it is a concept that is subject to different and competing interpretations. This becomes even more complicated when the guilt or innocence of a defendant rests not only upon whether there was consent or not but whether the defendant’s belief in consent was reasonably held.
Drawing from a Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) funded project undertaken by Dr Dowds, which
included semi-structured interviews with individuals working in the sexual violence sector in NI, this paper situates NI’s approach to sexual consent within broader trends towards ‘affirmative models of consent’.
To read or download this Briefing Paper, please click here.