Chapter 3 - Situations Subchapter: Consent, alcohol & drugs


Alcohol and drugs can:

  • lower inhibitions
  • lower self-awareness
  • reduce our ability to recognise social cues and body language
  • impair decision-making
  • reduce our ability to communicate and understand others
  • make some people more unhappy and others more aggressive
  • make us too focused on one outcome or thing.

You need to be 18 years or older to drink alcohol.

Alcohol acts as a depressant on our central nervous system. It slows everything down and impacts reaction times, balance, ability to read social cues and make considered and rational judgements.

Consent involves a shared decision – one person asks for something, or asks to do something, and the other person responds with yes, no, or I don’t know.

The free agreement law states that each person must freely consent to sex. To freely consent or agree, each person must be 100% comfortable with the situation and know exactly what it is they are agreeing to.


Determining a person’s ability to consent

Ask yourself,

  • Can they communicate coherently and clearly?
  • Are they sober enough to fully comprehend what’s going on?
  • Do they have control of their own body?

If the answer is no to any of those questions, the person cannot legally consent.


Stepping in

If you see a drunk person being subjected to disrespectful behaviour or at risk of sexual assault, check in with them. Make sure they are ok by offering respect, empathy and support.


Victim blaming

Victim blaming occurs when a victim of a crime or wrongful incident is held responsible, either partially or fully, for what happened to them.

Rape is a crime. If a person is drunk or affected by drugs, then they are unable to consent. That’s the law.

A crime was committed because a person made the decision to engage in non-consensual sex with another person. The responsibility for the decision to commit a crime rests solely with the perpetrator.