What is rape or sexual assault?

Rape and serious sexual assaults, by their nature, have a traumatic effect on the victim, family and society.

Northumbria Police is committed to the professional, ethical and compassionate investigation of such offences in order to help victims move their lives forward and bring offenders to justice.

The force's proactive stance on the improvement of all aspects of sexual assault investigations has been recognised nationally.


A person commits rape if he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, with his penis, without their consent.

Serious sexual assault

A person commits a serious sexual assault by penetration if he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a part of the body or anything else without their consent.

Sexual assault

A person commits a sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual, and the other person does not consent.