Protecting Autonomy in Non-consensual Sexual Offences: A Kantian Critique
The current law has been criticised on the basis that it does not provide a clear definition of consent. This criticism is important, particularly in light of the fact that the Sexual Offences Act 2003 adopts a consent-centric model in relation to the protection of sexual autonomy. Therefore, it is vital that the current model provides effective protection in relation to sexual autonomy. This thesis will focus on the protection of autonomy in non-consensual sexual offences in sections 1-4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. It will be argued that sexual autonomy is a concept which should be protected and that Kantian autonomy is an effective method for the protection of sexual autonomy. Focusing on Kant’s supreme principle of morality and the universalising aspect of Kantian autonomy, the thesis will argue that a re-interpretation of Kantian philosophy is an effective method for protecting sexual autonomy. The thesis will analyse the application of Kantian autonomy in a practical context in cases involving deception and non-violent coercion. It will be argued that a Kantian approach is an effective model for the protection of sexual autonomy in cases where a defendant procures sexual activity through deception or non-violent coercion. The barriers to the application of Kantian autonomy will be examined in order to determine whether Kantian autonomy is a viable model for the protection of sexual autonomy in a practical context. This thesis concludes that a Kantian approach is capable of protecting sexual autonomy, in a practical context, in cases involving deception and non-violent coercion.
- MPhil