Relationships

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Every relationship is different, but it should always be based on honesty and trust. Both partners should have an equal choice in decision making and nobody should be asked to do anything they don't want to do. Relationships don't have to be sexual, but if you do want to have sex it should be when you both feel ready.

If you are thinking about having sex, it's important that you protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy by using a condom and planned contraception.

Sex and the law

In England, the same laws apply to heterosexual and homosexual activity and offences can be committed by anyone, male or female, over the age of 10, which is the age of criminal responsibility.

It is an offence to intentionally engage in sexual touching with a young person aged 13, 14 or 15. 'Touching' covers all physical contact, including touching with any part of the body, with anything else and through anything, for example, through clothing. It includes penetration.

Intentional sexual touching of a young person under 13 is an absolute offence.

Sexual assault

It is an offence to sexually touch or penetrate the vagina or anus of another person without reasonable belief that they consented. Penetration includes using the penis or any other object. Both men and women can be prosecuted for sexual assault.

Beech House offers free support and practical help to anyone in Kent and Medway who has experienced sexual abuse or rape. You can contact them on 0800 133 7432.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Read more about child sexual exploitation and what to do if you're concerned about yourself or someone you know.

Report abuse

You can report abuse to us at any time.

Staying safe

It is very important that you are in safe relationships and that no one is trying to harm you or make you do things that you don't want to do.

This can include being touched without your consent, being asked to perform sexual acts on someone or someone taking inappropriate pictures of you. If you're being asked do something you don't want to do, come along to one of our clinics and speak to someone in confidence.

Protecting you is our priority and if we are concerned about you we will discuss our concerns with you first and if necessary we may contact other professionals to help you further.

Domestic abuse support

Information for you, your friends or family can be found on the Domestic Abuse Services website.