How End Violence Against Women used YouGov Surveys to understand attitudes to sexual consent
June 29th, 2022, Maria Jose Contreras

How End Violence Against Women used YouGov Surveys to understand attitudes to sexual consent



Understand the public’s attitudes to sexual consent.


Quantitative and qualitative research methods to gather public opinion.


The research was used to publish a report and ultimately raise awareness and knowledge of sexual violence.

Business challenge

There is a crisis in the way the justice system deals with rape and sexual violence. Despite increasing numbers of women reporting rape to the police, the rates of people charged with and convicted of rape are falling.

It is in this context that End Violence Against Women (a leading coalition which campaigns to end all forms of violence against women) wanted to better understand attitudes to rape, and people’s understanding of the law on rape.



The End Violence Against Women Coalition commissioned YouGov to conduct research to explore the public’s perception of sexual violence against women and girls. The project used both quantitative and qualitative methods.

First, YouGov ran an online survey with a Nationally Representative sample of around 4,000 GB adults drawn from the YouGov panel. YouGov then recruited people who took part in the survey to participate in three online focus groups (two with women and one with men). The survey results were explored in more detail during the focus groups to add more depth and insight to the survey responses.

The participants represented a wide range of demographics and were from different locations, working status, marital status, and held various views which had been identified in the quantitative survey.


The overall findings showed that:

  • 33% of people in Britain think it isn’t usually rape if a woman is pressured into having sex but there is no physical violence.
  • A third of men believe a woman can’t change her mind after sex has started.
  • 24% think that sex without consent in long-term relationships is usually not rape.

The survey also found that:

  • 35% of over 65s think that in most cases it isn’t rape to have non-consenting sex with your wife or partner, compared to just 16% of 16-24s.
  • 60% of people think that free counselling services are available to victims of rape.

This research shows that confusion and myths about rape are still very common. It also reveals that victims won’t necessarily be given the support they need if the rape they experience isn’t understood as harmful or even as rape.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition used the research to publish a report titled ‘Attitudes to Sexual Consent’ in order to raise awareness and understanding of attitudes surrounding sexual violence. The research was also used to influence juries’ decisions and educate the general public, in the hope that victims get the support they need.

Client testimonial

“The expert team at YouGov helped us develop a research programme which increased our understanding of attitudes which underpin the public’s response to sexual violence, attitudes which may have an impact on juries’ decisions and the support victims get from their friends and family.”

- Rachel Krys, Co-Director at End Violence Against Women Coalition

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