Christmas revellers in South Yorkshire warned of rape charge risk
Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are urging Christmas revellers to think about the consequences of drinking too much and having sex without consent.
The force said alcohol often plays a part in a number of sexual offences and is urging people on nights out over Christmas and New Year to think twice about their actions.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Jackson, said: “Alcohol is a significant factor in a number of sexual offences, including rape, and that’s why we’re extremely keen to raise awareness of responsible drinking over the festive season.
“While you’re out and about socialising, enjoying the celebrations tonight and over the coming weeks, we’d ask that you’re mindful of what you’re drinking and how you’re getting home.
“We find that most perpetrators of sexual offences will have already met their potential victim, maybe in a bar or a club, before any offence actually takes place.
“Thankfully, stranger rapes are rare, however any kind of rape, whether you’ve met the perpetrator or not, is an absolutely horrendous crime.
“What you do while drinking can have devastating consequences, for both people involved. What might start off as a bit of a laugh and a joke with a few friends, could quickly turn in to a serious incident with life-changing repercussions."
He urged people to think about their behaviour.
“Think about it, would you still do that if you hadn’t had anything to drink? Don’t let your night out end with more than a hangover the following day," he added.
“I think it’s important to clarify consent, and remind people that no means no. Flirting, a quick kiss or even intimate behaviour is not a precursor to consent.
“Consent is about two people being able to confidently say yes together, if you think you’re too drunk, or the other person is, don’t go there.
“Anyone who is found to have committed a sexual offence will be dealt with and will be brought to justice; and of course, anyone who reports an incident to us will be listened to and the matter thoroughly looked in to.”
Charlotte Mead, Sheffield branch leader of the Women's Equality Party said: “The Women's Equality Party Sheffield branch are really pleased that South Yorkshire Police are running this campaign highlighting the issue of sexual assault this Christmas.
“Although Christmas for many people is, and should be, a time of fun with friends and family, for some people it doesn't turn out like that.
“Unfortunately alcohol often means that people behave in a way that they wouldn't find acceptable if they were sober.
“The consent message is so important, and consent is something that often gets overlooked when alcohol is involved.
“If someone can't say yes, they can't say no either, and as DCI Jackson has said, just don't go there.”