What is harmful sexual behaviour?

Harmful sexual behaviours can be defined as:

  • any unwanted sexual behaviour towards another person
  • anything sexual without consent
  • sexual violence can occur:
    • physically (e.g rape and assault)
    • verbally (e.g saying something of a sexual nature to another person without their consent)
    • visually (e.g making another person watch porn without their consent)
    • online (e.g sending another person sexual messages or images without their consent). 

Harmful sexual behaviours can include, but are not limited to:

  • sexual harassment 
  • sexual assault (including rape) 
  • incest 
  • bestiality 
  • any form of unwanted sexual advance 
  • request for sexual favours 
  • any other unwanted behaviour that is sexual in nature.

New Zealand Sexual Violence Laws

The Law says:

  • The 1961 Crimes Act defines ‘rape’ as penis to vagina sex without consent, but people are free to define their experiences in whatever way they want.
  • Unlawful sexual connection is any sexual contact with a person who does not or cannot consent to. 
  • Rape and unlawful sexual connection are as serious as each other and if someone is charged and found guilty of either, they can go to prison for up to 20 years. 

People can’t legally consent to sexual activity when:

  • they are stupefied (too drunk or too high/too intoxicated) 
  • they are unconscious or asleep 
  • they are under 16 years old 
  • they are forced, threatened, or pressured into doing sexual activity or into saying yes to sexual activity