What is consent and steps to take

The What is Consent and Steps to Take Poster is a printable resource. You are encourage to print and post for your reference. 

2022 - What is Consent and Steps to Take.pdf

What is sexual consent?


Showing in words and actions that you freely agree to participate in a sexual activity.

Needs an enthusiastic YES, it must be clear.


Continuing to give permission throughout the sexual encounter. You can withdraw your consent at any time.

Consent is asking every time - an ongoing process of giving and getting permission.


Consent must be given by someone who is willing and able to express themselves coherently.

Consent must be informed. It is knowing the risks and benefits and choosing to proceed.

Consent is wanting to do something, not feeling like you have to or should do it.

What consent isn't

 Consent is NEVER implied. The absence of a NO is not a YES.

 Saying yes on one occasion doesn’t mean someone will say yes every time.

 People who are significantly impaired by alcohol or drugs, people who are asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unable to communicate, cannot consent.

 Saying yes to one act doesn’t mean someone has said yes to others. If the conditions of the act change, consent is no longer valid.

 Consent may be compromised by an existing power imbalance within a relationship.

 Silence is NOT consent.

 Consent cannot be obtained through coercion, psychological or emotional manipulation, physical violence, or threat.

Putting it in perspective

1 in 4 North American women will experience sexual assault during their lifetime1.

80% of those cases will be perpetrated by someone they know. 

1 in 2 transgender people are sexually abused or assaulted2.

Almost all Canadians agree that sexual activity between partners should be consensual but 67% don't understand what consent means3.

In 2019, 16.6% of Queen's Students reported experiencing sexual touching without their consent4

1. Sexual Assault in Canada 2. Office for Victims of Crime
3. Canadian Women’s Foundation 4. NCHA 2019

Steps for students to take after a recent sexual assault

Queen's is committed to providing non-judgmental sexual violence support and response.

For safety assessment and planning, call:

Queen's 24hr Emergency Response Centre
(613) 533-6111 or 911

24/7 Crisis and Support Line
Sexual Assault Centre Kingston
(613) 544-6424

For confidential services, call

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) Emergency Dept. – KGH Site
Mon-Fri 8 am to 4 pm: (613) 549-6666
After hours call: (613) 548-3232, press 0
Ask for the SV/DV nurse

Services include:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and pregnancy
  • Forensic evidence collection (including the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit).

Call or go to Health Services
Mitchell Hall, 1st floor
69 Union Street

To have someone accompany you to the hospital:

  • Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (Crisis Line 24/7): (613) 544-6424
  • Sexual Health Resource Centre: shrckingston.org (613) 533-2959

For evidence collection, try not to:

  • shower, bathe, or use the washroom prior to a medical exam
  • change, wash, or destroy clothing
  • clean up the scene

To seek support contact:

  • Barb Lotan, the Queen’s University Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator for information and to review your options (referrals, accommodations, and filing a complaint)
    bjl7@queensu.ca or (613) 533-6330

*Choosing to disclose what happened to seek support does not initiate a complaint process. You are never required to file a complaint of sexual violence with the University or with the police. If you choose to submit a complaint, you may determine your level of participation in the formal process.

  • Counselling Services
    Mitchell Hall, 1st Floor
    69 Union Street
    (613) 533-2506
    Ask for a referral to the Sexual Violence Counsellor

For peer support visit: AMS Peer Support Centre (613) 533-6000 ext. 75111 or email psc@ams.queensu.ca

Additional professional counselling options

Counsellors are also available in residences, athletics, Four Directions, and some faculties and schools (Graduate Studies, Engineering, Commerce, Education, Medicine, Nursing, Arts & Science).

To find more information about counselling services on campus visit:

Information about additional resources can be found at queensu.ca/sexualviolencesupport

To find out more about filing an internal complaint, contact: 

Barb Lotan
Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator
Weekdays, daytime hours
(613) 533-6330

To report directly to Kingston Police Services, contact:

(613) 549-4660

Campus Security and Emergency Services can help with reports to Kingston Police.
(613) 533-6733