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Consent campaign gets the backing of the Unity team

18/01/2012

A new campaign which aims to raise awareness of the issue of consent in sex crimes has been backed by prosecutors from Merseyside's Unity team.

The team, made up of CPS specialist rape prosecutors working in partnership with police officers, investigates and prosecutes all rape and serious sexual assault cases across Merseyside.  They have praised the campaign which hopes to dispel some of the myths surrounding sexual assault and particularly around the issue of consent.

"The law is clear regarding consent: a person has to agree to sex and have the freedom and capacity make that choice, otherwise the other party will have committed a criminal offence," said Janet Potter, CPS Mersey-Cheshire expert rape prosecutor and legal head of the Unity team.

"There are instances where the law presumes that the victim has not consented - unless evidence is put forward to prove otherwise. These include instances where the victim has been drugged, is asleep or unconscious, or has been threatened with violence. This is, of course, putting the issue in its very simplest terms, but we know there is still confusion among the public about consent and that's where this campaign will help."

In the last 12 months the Unity team has dealt with prosecutions which have resulted in 62 defendants in Merseyside being convicted of rape or serious sexual assaults. This is an increase of more than 50% as compared with the previous year. The sentences of imprisonment handed down total 282 years.  

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For more information please contact Sharon King, Area communications manager on 0151 239 6465.