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Sex + the LawAt MOT we don’t have a “downer” on sex – quite the opposite, but we do want you to be safe in everything you do!There are lots of tips throughout the website about how to keep yourself safe and this section highlights some of the legal aspects you need to know before having sex.Under the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009, consent must be given for all sexual activity.Consent means “free agreement” so if someone is under the influence of drink or drugs, asleep, unconscious or coerced into taking part in a sex act this can be a criminal offence. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, including during a sex act. So have a think about this when you are out and about – if you’ve had a drink or taken drugs, would you still do the same thing if you were sober?Would he?Also bear in mind the 'age of consent'. This is the age at which a person is legally allowed to decide to have sex. In Scotland, the age of consent is 16 for sex between males and females or between two males or two females. If one person is under 16, then the person over 16 is breaking the law. A young person under the age of 13 years cannot consent to have sex in the eyes of the law and this is classed as rape.For more info on HIV transmission and the law click the HIV + the Law tab on the left.Remember “Stay Safe – Stay Sexy!”
Hate CrimeHate crime is any incident committed against a person or property that is motivated by malice or ill-will towards people because of their sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race, or religion.Hate crimes and incidents can include (but are not limited to):• physical assault• obscene calls or gestures• intimidating or threatening behaviour• graffiti• vandalism• spitting• hate mail• abusive name callingGay and bisexual men, including trans-men, unfortunately remain the targets of hate crime, however, many are still unwilling to report these incidents either through fear of reprisals from their attackers or because of unwillingness to make a face-to-face report to the police, as this would involve disclosing their sexual orientation or transgender identity. MOT and Police Scotland are dedicated to improving their responses to these issues and are committed to working with individuals affected to improve responses, including supporting more people to report / making services more accessible.Police Scotland takes hate crime very seriously and encourages members of all communities to report incidents to the police. Even if what happened does not amount to a crime they will still record it for information and future reference.There are a number of ways to make it easier for you to report hate crime to the police. The following methods of reporting will not provide an immediate response and are for non-emergency situations:• Phoning the police - non-emergency number 101• Go to your local police station• Report to a police officer in the street• Report hate crime online• Report anonymously - call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111• Report through MOT or Sexual Health Services (3rd Party Reporting)
If it is an emergency and police attendance is immediately required to prevent injury to any person or to arrest offenders for a serious offence then dial 999.For more information on reporting hate crime please visit the Police Scotland websiteWhy should you report a hate crime?Every time you report a hate incident, that report gives the police a clearer picture of homophobic and transphobic hate crime, both in your community and across Scotland.Every report that is made plays an important part in raising awareness and changing attitudes for the better.You might feel that someone heckling you in the street isn’t worth reporting – that the incident is too trivial to be worth the trouble. You might feel that a few minutes of abuse isn’t worth the time it takes to report an incident.But if you report the incident, your action could make all the difference. As well as nipping something more serious in the bud, you’re helping the police do their job and identify and deal with trouble makers. Police put their resources where the problems are. If they don’t know you’re having a problem, how are they supposed to help solve it?Statistics are powerful. They get things changed. If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a homophobic or transphobic incident, report it: make it countRemember: if the matter is urgent always call 999!
BondageBondage, Domination & Submission and Sadomasochism (BDSM) is more popular than ever thanks to “50 Shades of Grey”, however it’s not without its risks.In English, Welsh and Northern Irish law you cannot consent to being harmed during sex and certain sex acts associated with BDSM or rough sex can be criminal offences however Scotland has a different legal system.Under the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009, consent must be given for all sexual activity. Consent means “free agreement” therefore is someone is under the influence of drink or drugs, asleep, unconscious or coerced into taking part in a sex act this can be a criminal offence.Consent can be withdrawn at any time, including during a sex act.SafetyWhen considering BDSM, it’s a good idea to discuss what you are willing to do and to chat through your limitations (how far you want to go), with your partner before you start. Some people even write this into a contract which they both sign.You should always agree a “safe word” which is a code for “Stop now”. This should be something you won’t forget and that won’t come up in any other way. Lot’s of people use green, yellow and red – green means “everything’s fine”, yellow means “don’t stop but don’t do anything harder” and red means “stop right now”.If you don’t have sex during bondage (penetrative or otherwise) there is virtually no risk of STIs. There are, of course, risks in other ways such as getting yourself hurt, or bruised.If you are using sex toy, make sure you use a new condom on the toy before using it. Lots of water-based lube is a good idea too! Make sure the condom is changed each time there is a new toy, or the toy is used on someone else.If your restrainer has penetrative sex with you, make sure he also wears a condom and uses water-based lube. If bareback sex happens, this increases the risk of getting an STI or HIV and you should get tested at one of our clinics. The risk of transmitting HIV, and other viruses, is high if there is any blood-to-blood contact.Remember that sexual assault is still possible in the bondage situation and if something happens during a bondage session that you feel uncomfortable about then please speak to a professional such as someone from MOT, THT or the police (click the Reporting Crime tab on the left.)For more information visit Terrence Higgins Trust’s ‘Hardcell’ website
3rd Party Recording
3rd party reporting allows members of the public to report hate crimes in a positive, confidential and supportive environment without speaking to a officer directly. A report can be made by attending a "3rd Party Reporting Centre" and reporting the crime to a member of staff there. Both MOT and Sexual Health Services are trained in 3rd Party Reporting.You can also complete an online hate crime form on the Police Scotland website.Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes can be reported. Police Scotland and their partners want people to feel confident in coming forward to report such incidents and where possible for them to provide their details so that the correct support and investigation can be carried out but you can also report anonymously.What Happens Once You Have Reported?Police Scotland has a duty to investigate every report. If you supply your details and consent to be contacted the Police will get in touch taking into account any special requirements such as:• Are you happy for Police to telephone you?• Are you happy for the Police to attend in person?• Plain clothes officer preferred?• Would you prefer a male or female officer?• Do you require an Interpreter?If a report is anonymous, enquiries will not be carried out to trace you as a matter of routine. However, it is important to know that some enquires may reveal your identity, which will be treated with confidence, and full support will be given.If there is no evidence of a crime the information supplied is still important because it allows the Police to understand what is happening in our communities. It will allow them to identify an appropriate response. For example: if a number of incidents have occurred in the same area then the police may ensure officers increase their presence in the area.If the person responsible is traced and there is enough evidence, then the person may be charged in relation to the offence and reported to the Procurator Fiscal, who will decide what action to take. On some occasions the persons(s) responsible may not be traced.If you wish to report a crime anonymously and do not wish to be traced by police we would recommend speaking to one of the trained advisors at Crimestoppers (0800 555 111) who will be able to collect the relevant information from you regarding the incident whilst ensuring your anonymity. This information will be passed onto Police Scotland and the relevant enquiries made.Remember: if the matter is urgent always call 999!
For more information on 3rd Party Reporting sites please go to the Police Scotland website
Sexual AssaultWhat is 'sexual assault'?A sexual assault is any act where someone:• touches a person sexually without their consent• penetrates a person sexually without their consent using part of their body or an other object• ejaculates onto a person without consent• urinates or spits on a person sexually without consent• Engages in any other form of sexual activity without consentSexual coercionSexual coercion is where someone forces another person, for example by threatening them, to take part in sexual activities, look at sexual images or to be present while sexual acts are going on.RapeRape is when “sex” takes place without consent. It can happen to women or men and can involve being forced to have sex through violence or through verbal threats, however it can also include circumstances in which no force was used (for example the victim was asleep or unconscious).It does not matter whether the two people concerned know each other or not or whether they happen to be in a relationship or married.Date RapeDate rape is a term often used to refer to a rape that takes place between two people who know each other or who meet willingly at first. Sometimes alcohol or other drugs are involved.If a person is unable to give their consent at the time because they are drunk or drugged and later feels they had sex when they would not have wanted to, then the law says a rape has taken place.As far as the law is concerned, the penalties are the same as for any other kind of rape.Consent can be withdrawn before or during any sexual activity.What to do if you've been sexually assaulted• Get somewhere safe• Call someone who can help you: a friend, the police (999), or support organisations• If you get help immediately after the assault, try not to wash or change your clothes. This may destroy forensic evidence that could be important if you decide to report the assault to the police• Seek medical help
There are a number of things that you can do to try to preserve any forensic evidence that might be present. You may not feel able to do some or all of the things that are listed. Even if you are not able to take any of these measures or you have already washed, for example, there can still be forensic evidence present. If possible, you should try not to:
• Wash. If you do wash, try to wipe yourself with tissues first and keep these• Clean your teeth• Clean your fingernails• Change or wash any clothes you were wearing• Eat or drink anything• Take any alcohol or drugs• Go to the toilet. If you do go to the toilet, keep any tissues that you use and any sanitary protection• Change or wash your bed clothes if the assault took place there
Write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This can help you to cope with the situation but may also be helpful if you decide to report the assault to the Police. It can also help to keep any text messages from your attacker and to use your phone to take pictures of anything that could be useful to show what happened.Click here for more information and help following sexual assault and rapeIf you've been sexually assaulted there are services that can help. You don’t have to report the assault to police if you don’t want to however Police Scotland is committed to supporting victims of rape and other sexual offences regardless of when the attack happened. They recognise how difficult it can be to report sexual crime and have specially trained officers, both male and female who are here to help and support you.If you have not yet contacted the police after an attack, then please consider doing so. Specially trained officers will be available to assist you and you can be confident that your complaint will be taken seriously. Speak to us at MOT or Sexual Health Services and we can give you more detailed information about the process of reporting to the police to help you to decide whether or not this is something you want to do.If you choose not to report the attack, you should consider getting medical help as soon as possible because you may be at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
There are tablets that you can get to help prevent you from getting HIV called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and you should also have a hepatitis B vaccine if you haven’t already had one.The following services will provide care and treatment or refer you to another service if you need more specialist help:
• MOT or sexual health clinic• a doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery• a voluntary organisation, such as Rape Crisis Scotland or Broken Rainbow• a hospital accident and emergency department
Staff are trained to deal with victims of sexual assault in a sensitive manner and are trained to treat injuries to the penis or anus and it is very important that you receive medical assistance. Medical staff won’t tell anyone else about the assault unless they think you can’t understand or make choices about your own care or if they think you are still at risk of harm. They will always talk to you before any information is shared with other agencies.Remember...You Are Not to Blame... Even If:
• Your attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend or partner• You have been sexually intimate with that person or with others before• You were drinking or using drugs• You froze and did not or could not say "no," or were unable to fight back physically
Ways to Take Care of Yourself
• Get support from friends and family - try to identify people you trust to validate your feelings. Spend time with people who know your strengths and positive qualities. Try not to isolate yourself• Talk about the assault and express feelings - you can choose when, where, and with whom. You can also decide how much or how little to talk about
You can get further support from the organisations in our links page in the Find Services section
Domestic AbuseDomestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.Research shows 1 in 4 LGBT people may experience domestic violence.Domestic abuse can be:• Physical - any behaviour that leads to physical injury such as spitting, punching, slapping• Sexual - any unwanted sexual behaviour• Psychological and/or emotional - using threats causing mental/emotional hurt. Humiliation. 'Silent treatment', threats to out you, put-downs around your sexuality and gender identity for trans people• Financial - withholding money, using your money, coercion to borrow money, such as loans in your name and running up debts• Forced marriage - may include all or some of the above ways to coerce, pressurize you into a marriage and deny your sexualitySafety PlanIf you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, devising a safety plan will allow you to think about how you can improve your safety if and when further violence or abuse occurs. It won't guarantee your safety, but could help improve it.Your personal safety plan may include some of the following:• If you or your family are in immediate danger, call the police on 999• Tell someone you can trust what is happening, and think about setting up a password with either a friend, neighbour or family member that you can use to explain there is an emergency and you need help quickly• Prepare a bag of clothes, medication and other essentials for yourself i.e. copies of driving licence, birth certificates, passports, benefit books or letters, important numbers, etc. Hide the bag somewhere safe• If you have a car, make an extra set of keys and hide them where you can get to them if you need to• Try to keep a small amount of money and your credit/debit cards on you at all times - including change for the phone and for bus fares• If you think your partner is about to attack you, try to get to a safer place, such as rooms that have a way out and access to a telephone. Try to avoid rooms that have potential weapons in them, such as the kitchen or garage, and rooms like the bathroom where it is easier for them to trap you• Keep any abusive letters, emails and text messages as evidence of abuse• If your partner injures you go to a doctor or hospital for treatment so there is a record of the abuse• If you are planning to leave your partner, think about how you can do this as safely as possible. Sometimes this can be the most dangerous time for you. If your partner knows you are planning to leave, they may become more violent and abusive• Plan to leave at a time you know your partner will not be around
If you have already left the relationship and are still being harassed:• Tell someone you can trust what is going on• Try not to isolate yourself. Work out the safest routes to and from home and work and use them. If you can't do this try to travel with someone else• Make sure your home is safe. Think about getting your locks changed and make sure that all doors and windows are secureThis information is taken from Broken Rainbow, an LGBT Domestic Violence Support Organisation.You will also find more organisations that can help in our Find Services section.
HIV + the LawUnder Scots Law, it is possible to be prosecuted for passing on HIV (transmission) or putting another person at risk of HIV (exposure).A person can be prosecuted for recklessly passing on an infection (known in legal terms as ‘reckless injury’) – this is what is meant by transmission.A person can also be prosecuted for recklessly putting someone at risk of infection, even if the infection is not passed on (known in legal terms as ‘reckless endangerment’) – this is what is meant by exposure.Only a tiny number of cases have made it to court in Scotland, investigations by police are rare and most are dropped at an early stage because of a lack of evidence.You could be found guilty of reckless transmission of HIV if evidence is provided that proves all of the points below applied to you at the time of the alleged offence:• You knew you had HIV• You understood how HIV is transmitted• You had sex with someone who didn’t know you had HIV• You had sex without a condom• You did not follow the advice given by your doctor on preventing risk to others• You transmitted HIV to that personUnder Scots law it is possible for you to be found guilty of exposing another person to HIV, even if the virus has not been passed on. The circumstances in which charges may be brought are much the same as transmission cases, with the obvious exception of transmission not having taken place.Exposure cases are extremely rare and should only apply in exceptional circumstances.You have not committed a crime if you didn’t know you had HIV at the time of exposure or transmission. You have also not committed a crime if you told your partner your status (and they understood the risks), or if you have taken reasonable action to reduce the risk of transmission or exposure to others such as using a condom.If you are worried about your risk of transmitting the virus to someone then please speak to your doctor or nurse. There are lots of good ways to reduce your risk to others.Your health care professionals have a duty to keep your medical information confidential but there are a few situations when the normal rules of confidentiality may not apply. These situations are extremely uncommon.• If a court requests the information• In some cases, if the Police request the information• If a doctor believes that someone with HIV is putting the life of another person in danger, the doctor has the right to disclose information to the person in danger. This can only be as a last resort, and after telling the person with HIV that confidentiality will be broken
For more information see: Prosecutions for HIV & STI Transmission or Exposure: A guide for people living with HIV in Scotland
Reporting CrimeMOT and Police Scotland are dedicated to improving their responses to crimes such as hate crime, sexual assault and rape. We are committed to working with individuals affected to improve responses, including supporting more people to report and making services more accessible.Reporting to the PoliceYou can choose whether or not to report what has happened to the police. For some people, reporting their attacker and seeking justice is very important.Other people do not want to tell anyone at all, far less report to an official body. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed; frightened about what the attacker might do; think they will not be believed; or be anxious about having to go to court and give evidence. If the attacker is a partner or close family member, they may worry about the effect on family or friends.It may help to talk about any concerns before making a decision. You can to talk to a police officer first without giving your name. You can also speak to a member of staff at MOT, Sexual Health Services or a support organisation such as Rape Crisis Scotland.In making your decision, it may be helpful to think about the following:If you report:• This may stop your attacker from harming you again or from harming someone else• You may feel better by taking control and doing what you can to ensure your attacker accounts for the crime• You may be able to claim compensation for any injury• The police will carry out an investigation. If, at a later date, you do not want to go ahead, your wishes would be taken into account but the police may continue the investigationIf you choose not to report:• It is not your fault if your attacker harms someone else• The attacker is responsible for what they do• They always have a choice
But, if you do not want to report because your attacker or someone else has threatened to harm you if you do, it is better that the police know this so they can take measures to make sure that you are not at risk.If you are not sure what happens when you report a crime to the police or how the legal system works, you can find out more in Information and help following sexual assault and rape.If you know that you want to report to the police, do this as soon as possible. This is because the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that some evidence may get damaged or lost.Even if the assault happened some time ago, you can still report it to the police. Some people do not report until years later. There may still be evidence to help the police continue with an investigation.There are a number of ways to make it easier for you to report crime to the police.If you do not need an immediate response from the police you can report in the following ways:• Phoning the police non-emergency number 101• Go to your local police station• Report to a police officer in the street• Report hate crime online• Report anonymously - call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111• Report through MOT or Sexual Health Services (3rd Party Reporting)
ChemsexThe term 'chemsex' means 'sex while using drugs'. The drugs commonly used in the UK are:• Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth / Tina)• Mephedrone (Meow / Meph)• GHB / GBL (G)Drugs can make us feel confident, part of the group, relaxed and hornier. For some guys sex and drugs/alcohol go hand in hand. If you choose to use drugs, we want you to look after yourself and protect your sexual health.We know that mixing sex and drugs often leads to risky sexual behaviour. We also understand that everyone makes a personal choice about when and where they choose to use drugs.Apart from becoming dependent, the biggest risk can be that drugs cloud judgement or make you unaware of what you’re doing or what you have done. Whether it’s one-on-one sex or group sex, it’s not uncommon for guys to take sexual risks. If you are going to get involved in chemsex, it is important that you know how to keep you and your partners as safe as possible.Understanding Chemsex by THT gives you practical advice about safer drug taking, and how to lower the chance of sexual health risks when mixing drugs and sex.More information on drugs and sex can be found on THTs Friday/Monday website.
Sex + the Law
3rd Party Reporting
HIV + the Law