Rape Crisis has 'concerns' over smartphone app which films sexual consent

iphone user

A new app has launched aimed at reducing false allegations of rape by filming consent before having sex.

Users of We-Consent record 20-second clips naming who they're about to have sex with.

The app only works if the camera detects human faces and if both people involved are clearly heard saying "yes".

However, support group Rape Crisis says that although the app has good intentions it "throws up concerns".

couple's feet

Katie Russell, the national spokeswoman for Rape Crisis in England and Wales, told Newsbeat: "Someone saying 'yes' to sex on camera does not necessarily prove that they have given their consent.

"Consent must be fully and freely given by someone with the capacity to do so.

"Video footage might not capture whether someone has been threatened, bullied or intimidated into saying 'yes' to sex and, if they have, then they have not fully or freely given their consent, even if they've said the word 'yes' out loud.

The definition of consent and the law surrounding consent

    • A person consents if he or she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
    • The law does not require the victim to have resisted physically in order to prove a lack of consent.
    • The question of whether the victim consented is a matter for a jury to decide.
    • The jury must be satisfied that the accused believed they had consent.

"In an abusive or controlling relationship, someone might be forced or manipulated into being filmed 'consenting' to sex.

"The concept seems to assume and suggest that 'false allegations of rape' are a common problem that young people need to be worried about; they're absolutely not.

"In fact, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has looked carefully at false allegations of rape and concluded that they are 'very rare'."

The most recent CPS study, carried out between January 2011 and May 2012, found there were 121 suspects whose cases involved allegedly false rape complaints.

Of these, 35 were prosecuted, 25 for perverting the course of justice and 10 for wasting police time.

Similar apps have been launched in the past, with Good2Go offering a multiple choice screen around consent, but this is the first to introduce video recording.

Developers say their app "demands a discussion of affirmative consent" and will help end "misunderstandings".

If the app doesn't think this is the case, the recording stops and asks that users try again.

The US-based developers say the 20-second clip "creates a seven-year encrypted record available only to law enforcement".

If you want help or advice about rape visit BBC Advice or contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999.

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