Perceptions of consent in UK Higher Education: Implications for policy and training

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Unwanted and non-consensual sexual experiences are considered to be pervasive across UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Yet what sexual consent is and what it means to consent to sexual activity is still relatively understudied, specifically amongst the UK Higher Education student population. In this chapter, I explore definitions of sexual consent from legal and sociocultural contexts. I consider students’ definitions and understanding of consent within these contexts alongside factors that might contribute to their sexual consent understanding and communication. Finally, I examine sexual consent from the perspective of HEIs by examining sexual misconduct policies, the necessity of sexual consent education, and their responsibilities to ensure student safety. An understanding of sexual consent alone may not influence major societal change nor reduce unwanted and non-consensual sexual experiences, but it can help start the conversation on a more informed understanding of what university communities mean by consent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStopping Gender-based Violence in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPolicy, Practice, and Partnerships
EditorsClarissa J. Humphreys, Graham J. Towl
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781032172477
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Aug 2022
EventSeen & Heard: Understanding and Responding To Unwanted Sexual Experiences among Students in Northern Ireland and Beyond - The Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Sept 202228 Sept 2022


ConferenceSeen & Heard
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Sexual consent
  • Higher education
  • Policy and practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of consent in UK Higher Education: Implications for policy and training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this