Police chiefs are warning Christmas revellers of the law surrounding rape in a bid to reduce offences.
As part of its ‘No Regrets’ campaign, South Yorkshire Police is warning that reports of sex offences traditionally increase over the festive season, with alcohol often involved.
The force said most offences are committed by people known to the victims.
Detective Inspector Karen Hockley said: “During the festive period we find that most victims of sexual offences will have already met their potential perpetrator, perhaps in a bar or club, ahead of any offence taking place.
“We also know that alcohol is a significant factor in a number of sexual offences and that’s why we want to raise awareness of the law as part of our No Regrets campaign.
“While most people’s perception of rape involves being attacked by a stranger the reality is that stranger type offences are thankfully very rare, not only in South Yorkshire, but across the country.
“The majority of rape offences are committed by someone known to the victim; perhaps a partner, friend or acquaintance. With increasing numbers of people enjoying nights out over the Christmas period, I think it’s important to clarify the law on consent.
“Flirting and even intimate behaviour is not a precursor to consent. A kiss at the office party or a dance together does not mean anything else is guaranteed.
“It makes absolutely no difference what has gone before. Consent is about two people both being in a position where they can confidently say yes together.
“Rape is a horrendous crime that can have a considerable and long-lasting impact on the victim and have life altering consequences for the perpetrator.”