The Definition of Rape & Categorisations in UK Law

What constitutes rape?

Rape is non-consensual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth using a penis. It is also rape if one of the sexual partners removes a condom without the other person’s permission – or lies about putting one on in the first place. This is widely referred to as ‘stealthing’. Another example of rape is if a person consents to one type of penetration e.g. vaginal, but not another e.g. anal sex.

Rape can be a one-time offence or it can occur on more than one occasion. Those found guilty of this heinous crime can face severe punishment. Anyone can commit or be subject to rape irrespective of gender, age, profession or the circumstance it took place. If you are forced or pressured into sexual activity without giving prior consent, this is classed as rape.

Rape categorisations in the UK

Date rape

There have been more and more reports of date rape occurring across the UK, often in clubs and bars. This category of sexual violence is mostly affecting a demographic of young women;  rapists administer date rape drugs in order to intoxicate vulnerable women. The term “date rape” suggests that the victim may not a stranger to the rapist, but rather they may have already met during previous social situations; they may have dated and have had consensual sex in the past.

Gang rape

Gang rape refers to a situation whereby the victim is raped by more than one person. Between the months of April and September 2021, English and Welsh police forces recorded at least 850 rapes involving multiple offenders. These shocking figures logged in just one six-month period were among 34,608 rape crimes reported in the UK. 90% of the 34,608 rapes were found to be targeted against women. Evidently, crimes of a sexual nature appear to be at a record high across the country and gang rape serves as a serious threat to women.

Marital rape (spousal rape)

Marital rape is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. This occurs between spouses when one of the partners in the relationship doesn’t consent to intercourse. Intimate partner sexual violence can occur in all types of intimate settings regardless of gender identities or sexual orientation. One of the spouses may develop controlling behaviours such as trying to isolate you from loved ones. From here their behaviour can escalate to further emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Rape of children (child sexual abuse)

Due to more and more young people having access to social media, child sexual abuse is at an all-time high. Perpetrators of this crime strive to establish a connection with children either online or in-person to earn their trust. Child rapists exploit the vulnerabilities of children and perpetrators can be of any age, gender, or race. They may sexually abuse children over a long period (months or years) or the abuse could occur over a short period of just a few weeks.

Statutory rape

This is when one or both of the parties engaging in sexual activity are below the age of consent. In England and Wales, the age of consent is 16. This law is the same for everyone, whatever their sex or gender. This law is supposed to protect children and young people, not prosecute under-16s who engage in consensual sexual activity with each other. If, for example, two 15-year-olds have consensual sex, they would not face prosecution. However, if an adult aged 18 or over has sex with someone aged 15 or under, it is a crime.

Rape Compensation

If you were subject to penetrative sexual activity without giving your prior consent, you can claim rape compensation. It doesn’t matter if you were subject to rape once or multiple times. If you have experienced non-consensual sexual activity, you can claim compensation.  Due to the nature of the crime, every case is different; rape compensation reflects this. The average award for a rape assault is around £11,000; the compensation reward can be higher if you have suffered more than one assault or have a seriously disabling mental health condition.

Get in touch

To discuss your potential claim please get in touch with our team of solicitors on 0151 242 5111. If you wish to make a claim we will need to ask you a few simple questions about what happened either over the phone or in our offices if you feel more comfortable. We will give you our expert advice and advise how much compensation you could receive. Our team of dedicated solicitors are there to hold your hand throughout the entire journey; we will go the extra mile to get you the compensation you deserve.

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