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University consent course

Brook is a national charity established 55 years ago that provides clinical sexual health services as well as education and wellbeing support to young people. Brook is the only national charity to offer both clinical sexual health and education & wellbeing services to young people. Last year we supported over 787,000 under 25s.

Why do students need to learn about consent?

Brook believes passionately in the importance of high quality and comprehensive relationships and sex education, which many young people are not receiving in school. This means that when they arrive at university, they are likely to be ill-equipped to navigate their sexual lives. Living away from the support mechanisms of home for the first time can make this especially problematic.

In January 2019, Brook conducted a survey of 5649 students from UK universities, and the results showed:

  • 56% of students have experienced unwanted sexual behaviours including groping, harassment, unwanted touching, coercion, sexual assault and rape
    • Only 15% realised these behaviours counted as sexual harassment or violence
    • Only 8% had reported this behaviour
    • Only 25% who were forced into having sex went on to report it
    • 53% of respondents had experienced these behaviours from another student
    • 30% of incidents took place on campus

Consent for students online course

Our Consent course for students was developed as part of a joint project with the University of Sussex and is based on original doctoral research by Elsie Whittington. Elsie worked extensively with young people to research what they understood about consent and to grasp the reality of their own sexual experiences.

The subject is explored through a combination of engaging, accessible information and real world scenarios, presented in interactive modules that are unlike any other online learning you’ve seen before.

Crucially, it has a robust, evidence-based foundation with content based on original doctoral research and informed by recent, in-depth consultation with young people and the findings of our student survey.

The course is structured as followed:

  • MODULE 1: An introduction to consent
    In this module, students are invited to reflect on what consent means, what counts as sex or sexual activity and the factors that make it difficult to negotiate sexual consent.
  • MODULE 2: Myths and the law
    This looks at the laws relating to sexual consent (and their problematic ambiguity), plus the myths about sex, sexual violence, rape and consent.
  • MODULE 3: The Consent Continuum
    Using new academic research, this module presents scenarios where it may be difficult to decide if consent has been sought and given. It then explores the shades of grey around consent.
  • MODULE 4: Communicating consent
    This module is designed to encourage reflection on the range of thoughts and feelings that someone might have when considering having sex, before exploring the verbal and non-verbal methods of sexual communication and consent.
  • MODULE 5: Help & support
    This has advice about dealing with sexual harassment, including bystander intervention techniques. It provides information about where you can go for help and support and can be tailored to provide the support services and reporting channels available at your university.

Example screen from module 2:

Free two week trial

If you work for a university and would like further details about licensing this course, please contact training@brook.org.uk for a free trial.