Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Community, Policy, Planning and Organizations


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Eliana Suarez

Advisor Role



Legal, moral, and health-related issues around sexual consent have become prominent in the media in recent years. The public debate surrounding these news stories indicates a large discrepancy in people’s understanding of sexual consent and its legal implications. Motivated by the fact that university students are sexually victimized at rates exceeding the general population, this study explores factors that influence knowledge of legal aspects of sexual consent and confidence in using such knowledge of students/alumni, under 30 years old, from two southern Ontario universities. This quantitative study used an online survey design, and is grounded in a heuristic paradigm, with a feminist perspective. Ten vignette-style questions were developed to evaluate legal sexual consent knowledge. Participants felt relatively confident about their level of knowledge and understanding, and yet their scores on knowledge do not reflect that. Association between variables was examined using bivariate and multiple regression analyses. No factors were found to be statistically significantly associated with level of sexual consent knowledge. A regression model for levels of confidence about sexual consent, accounted for 12.4% of the variance. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed, with an emphasis on educational interventions and advocacy opportunities.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons