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15 September 2021

Fresher’s Week part two: let’s talk about sexual misconduct investigations and false allegations

2 mins

No one thinks it will happen to them, but false allegations relating to sexual activity are made, and these can result in unpleasant gossip, the loss of friendships, and can even become a formal investigation by a university/college or the police. A false allegation may be made due to a misunderstanding or a different recollection of what occurred.

It is never possible to prevent false allegations, but here are some tips from a criminal lawyer specialising in university investigations to try and minimise the risk:

  1. Ensure the other party is over the age of consent
  2. If you think you may engage in sexual activity, discuss it first and remember consent can be withdrawn at any point
  3. If either of you are under the influence of excessive alcohol or any substances, your judgment may be compromised. Be careful and possibly wait 
  4. Do not discuss the details with others afterwards or share any videos or photos taken

This is not a definitive list and will not prevent a false allegation being made. It is not an insurance policy. If the above is not followed, it doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong. Sexual behaviour is complex and nuanced, but the law isn’t and the consequences of a false allegation are horrendous. So try and minimise the risk where you can.

Bindmans’ Education, Crime, Fraud and Regulatory teams have vast expertise in Sexual Misconduct Investigations and can advise you in relation to these. For further information or a confidential chat please contact Kate Goold, or call +44 (0)20 7014 2020.

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