Talking about consent is not always easy. But you have come to the right place to learn more and improve your confidence and skills to have these conversations.

Young People (Over 17)

Active* Consent uses data to create consent education resources based on what young people have told us about what they are experiencing in the real world, what they need, and what they want to know more about when it comes to consent.

Be advised that some of our resources directly address sexual violence (including rape, assault and sexual violence).  Here is where you can find out more about how to get help if you or someone you know has been affected by these issues.

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Over 17’s FAQ’s

  • What is the age of consent in Ireland?

    The age of consent in the Republic of Ireland is 17. This means that it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with anyone under the age of 17. However, Irish law also says that if there is an age difference of two years or less (for example a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old) that the younger person can consent to this activity. But in this situation, consent must also have been given freely and voluntarily, no one can have felt pressured or intimidated, and neither person can be in a position of authority.

  • Do I need consent for all sexual activity?

    Yes, you need consent for all types of sexual activity- kissing, touching, oral sex, intercourse, and sexting/sending nudes.

    You also need consent every time you engage in intimacy with someone; even if you’re in a relationship. Just because you or your partner consents to one sexual act does not mean that they consent to other acts.

    And, just because someone did something once doesn’t mean they consent to it again.

    It’s always best to just ask for consent, for everything and every time.

  • What do other people my age think about asking for consent?

    Some of our most recent research has shown that 90% of college students who took part in the 2020 Sexual Experiences Survey (Active* Consent and USI) would ask their partner if they were interested in engaging in sexual intercourse and 40% surveyed heard sexual consent issues being discussed by peers.

    However, our other research has shown that a social norm gap can exist between how college age students feel themselves about asking for consent and how they think their peers feel about it. For example, we found in another study that 84% of college students surveyed agreed that asking for consent is important, but only 38% agreed that their peers felt the same way. This suggests that there may be some internalised peer pressure to not engage in conversations for fear of being seen as odd or different. But in actual fact, there is huge support for communicating about consent amongst your age group.

  • Where can I get help if myself or a friend have had a negative sexual experience?

    If you have had a negative sexual experience, click here to learn more about your options for reporting and getting support. Remember, it is not your fault that this happened and there are many options to help you through this difficult situation.

    If you are supporting your friend following a negative sexual experience, it is very important to listen to them, believe them, and ask how you can help.

    Here are some tips for responding to someone who tells you about a negative sexual experience from our “Start Here” campaign:

    • Do say “I believe you”: Opening up about a negative sexual experience can be very stressful, so reassure the person that you believe them, and that you are here to support them and listen.
    • Don’t say things like “Were you drunk?/What were you wearing?/Are you sure that’s what happened?”: That sounds like you think it’s their fault. Try to listen without judgement.
    • Don’t rush them into telling the whole story if they don’t want to: Follow their lead – they might just tell you a little bit, or they may need to tell you the whole story.
    • Do ask how you can help: You could offer to find out about support services. Even just listening can make a huge difference.
    • Don’t say things like “I can’t believe this, I’m going to kill them!”: While it is difficult to hear about someone’s negative experience, take a breath and try to focus on their feelings, instead of your own.
    • Don’t pressure them into reporting the incident before they are ready: Whatever happens next should be the survivor’s choice. Pressuring them to take action they don’t want can be disempowering and retraumatizing.
    • Do ask “What do you want to do next?”: They might not know what they want to do right away, but whatever happens next needs to be the survivor’s choice.
    • Do remember to look after yourself: Hearing about a negative sexual experience can be very difficult, especially if you have had your own negative experiences. Make time for your own self-care and mental wellbeing.

    For more information about support services available for survivors of sexual assault/harassment, visit our Get Help page.

    If you are struggling to cope after learning about a friend’s negative sexual experience, you can also make use of these support services.

  • Do I need consent before sending/asking for nudes?

    Yes, you need consent before sending nudes to someone else. Not everyone wants to receive an intimate image, so it’s important to ask first.

    If your partner does not want to send you an intimate image of themselves, you must respect that. Forcing someone into sending you a sexual image is coercion, which violates your partner’s consent.

  • What can I do if an image of myself has been shared without my consent?

    If an image of you was shared without your consent, you have many options for reporting, anonymously reporting, and getting support in Ireland. Click here to learn more.

    It is illegal to share sexual images of someone without their consent under Irish law since 2020, under “Coco’s Law,” the online harassment harmful communications, and related offences bill. According to Irish law, “it is a criminal offence to distribute intimate images without consent.” The law includes taking, distributing, publication and threatening to share nudes without consent.

  • What can I do if I am worried about my friend’s safety?

    If you are worried about your friend’s safety, there are several things you can do, depending on the situation.

    If they are in immediate danger, call 999 or 112 if you are in Ireland.

    If you are witnessing a friend in an uncomfortable situation where they are at risk of being sexually harassed and/or assaulted, you can follow the five D’s of Bystander Intervention, a model first developed by Bibb Latane and John Darley in the United States in the 1970s which has been adapted by many anti-violence groups worldwide.

    TECHNIQUE

    WHAT TO DO

    ACTIONS

    Distract

    You can distract either the harasser or the person they are targeting to de-escalate the situation. This is a subtle and easy way to intervene in a situation without directly addressing what is happening.

     

    Spill a drink “accidentally” to break up the interaction.

    Strike up a conversation with your friend who is being harassed.

    Tell your friend who is being harassed that you need them to go somewhere with you, to remove them from the situation (the toilet, go home, to another place, etc).

    If you do not know the person that is the target, pretend you know them and talk to them to intervene.

    Delegate

    Ask a friend or another person to help. If you can, ask someone with some level of authority (a teacher, bus driver, bouncer, etc.)

    Inform a nearby person that there is an issue going on and that you need help.

    Call a friend for help.

    Direct

    If you feel safe to do so, you can confront the aggressor directly.

    Say “This isn’t ok, leave them alone.”

    Stand between the aggressor and their target.

    Document

    If you don’t feel safe intervening in the moment, you could record what happened on your phone or take a photo. Afterwards, you and your friend/the victim can decide what to do.

    Use your phone to record a video or photo of what is happening.

    You can do this discreetly if you feel more comfortable.

    Delay

    If you can’t intervene in the moment, check in with the person being harassed afterwards to see if you can help them in any way.

    Say “I saw what happened, are you ok?”

    Say “Is there anything I can do?”

    Say “Is there someone I can call for you?”

Young People – Over 17,
Training Opportunities

To learn more about how to bring our workshops to your school or campus, or get trained as a facilitator or consent ambassador, contact us at activeconsent@nuigalway.ie