ONE in six rape victims is attacked while asleep or unconscious, according to figures released by police as they embark on a campaign to educate men about the laws of consent.

Growing concerns about the number of women and men who have been sexually assaulted while unable to consent has led to the launch of the We Can Stop It campaign.

Police say there needs to be a better understanding of the laws of consent after research showed there is still confusion about what constitutes rape.

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Better research procedures established since the formation of Police Scotland have found there is a need to raise awareness of what constitutes rape and to educate both heterosexual and homosexual young men.

The campaign features posters, adverts and social media activity that draws attention to statements from men designed to challenge perceptions of the crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "Rape is a devastating crime which has a far-reaching impact on victims and families. Changes in the law meant that the definition of rape widened - the clear message being that sex without consent is rape.

"We deal with reports of rape across the country every day. There are a wide range of circumstances around each case - but the common factor is that where there is no consent, it is rape."

"How we investigate rape in Scotland has evolved significantly over the past 12 months. Our National Taskforce works closely with divisional rape investigation units to provide a better and more consistent response to victims of crime and a sharper, more focused approach to targeting offenders."

An increase in the number of reported rapes has shed light on the frequency and nature of offences. One-third of all cases are reported to police more than a year after the event, and one-third take place in a domestic setting. More than 90% of all rapes are committed by someone know to the victim.

Sandie Barton, national ­co-ordinator of Rape Crisis ­Scotland, said: "We are delighted to see We Can Stop It going from strength to strength. This campaign plays a valuable role in helping people to understand what rape actually is, and in raising public awareness.

"The law is clear: sex without consent is rape, and we need to make sure the Scottish public understand that.

"We Can Stop It speaks directly to men and offers a very positive message - that rape is preventable, and men can play a positive role in making this happen."