Sexual Consent Project

Narratives of sexual consent in English criminal courts, 1870-1950

In this project, Dr Laura Lammasniemi from Warwick Law School explores how sexual consent was understood in every-day criminal trials before the legal definition of the term. She asks what that legal history can tell us about the very nature of this contested concept. The project is based on archival research on courtroom narratives on consent in areas of rape, prostitution and trafficking, and sexual activity with girls under the age of consent. Through historical analysis, the project will bring crucial insights on contemporary legal debates on sexual consent at a time when conviction rates are at an all-time low.