Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Leahy, S
Journal Of Criminal Law
 ‘“No Means No” But Where’s the Force? Addressing the Challenges of Formally Recognising Non-Violent Sexual Coercion as a Serious Criminal Offence’
Optional Fields
 Although it is no longer necessary to show that force was used in order to prove that sexual activity was non-consensual, it remains difficult to prove that rape has occurred where the complainant has been threatened with an adverse consequence other than physical injury. Although, in principle, any threat (e.g. that of job loss or revelation of a secret) is sufficient to vitiate consent to sexual activity, in practice it remains difficult to prove that a criminal wrong has occurred in such cases. This article argues that this gap between principle and practice is the result of the vague approach to sexual coercion in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, along with a continuing societal preoccupation with force as a requirement for ‘real rape’. In light of these difficulties, it is argued that consideration should be given to introducing a specific offence of obtaining sex by threats to ensure that non-violent sexual coercion is recognised as criminal harm.
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