The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse Lanzarote Convention asks States parties to set a minimum age for sexual consent, below which it is prohibited to engage in sexual activities with a child. All countries have established a minimum age under which engaging in sexual intercourse with a child is considered a criminal offence. Roughly half of the Member States add exceptions, making intercourse lawful if the partners are of similar ages or the age difference is not higher than a certain number of years. View full dataset in data explorer. Skip to main content. You are here: Home Mapping minimum age requirements with respect to the rights of the child in the EU Consent for sexual activity with an adult. Consent for sexual activity with an adult The establishment of a minimum age for sexual consent, the age at which a child can decide to have sex with someone, aims to protect children from abuse or consequences of early sexual activity, such as early pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Key aspects All Member States establish a minimum age for sexual consent.
Age of consent
The age of consent is the age at which a young person can legally agree to sexual activity. Age of consent laws apply to all forms of sexual activity, ranging from kissing and fondling to sexual intercourse. The age of consent to sexual activity is 16 years.
Information on the ages used historically in western age of consent laws is not readily available. This table has been compiled from a combination of historical and contemporary sources. By , the first date chosen, many western nations had established an age of consent for the first time, typically of 12 or 13 years. By , when the influence of reform campaigns that established a new link between the age of consent and prostitution had run its course, most had revised their age upward, to 14 or 15 in European nations, and 16 in the Anglo-American world.
In the last decades of the 20th century, states and nations with ages below those averages amended their laws to move closer to them. In Europe that growing conformity owed much to moves toward greater European integration. Given that the rationale for the age of consent has remained essentially unchanged in its emphasis on the need to protect ‘immature’ children, the table highlights the shifting and various definitions of childhood employed across time and cultures.
Date compiled from the following sources: Hirschfeld, Magnus.
Statutory Rape: The Age of Consent
It is a crime to have sexual intercourse with a person under the age of But you might have a defence if you are a similar age and both of you consent. There are different laws in each state about how old you have to be before you can have sex. You could be charged if you have sex with someone who is outside the legal age of consent.
To consent to sex, a person needs to be old enough within the legal age of consent and freely agree to the sexual activity.
These laws:. We’ve put together an overview of the key legislation in these areas, to help people who work with children. In England a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Child protection guidance points out that even if a child has reached 16 years of age and is:. In Scotland, the definition of a child varies in different legal contexts, but statutory guidance which supports the Children and Young People Scotland Act , includes all children and young people up to the age of Where concerns are raised about a or year-old, agencies will need to consider which legislation or guidance is appropriate to follow, given the age and situation of the young person at risk.
Paragraph 21 of the National guidance for child protection in Scotland explains how professionals should act to protect young people from harm in different circumstances Scottish Government, Section 3 of the Social Services and Well-being Wales Act states that a child is a person who is aged under Some rights are recognised at international level through agreements between governments.
Age of consent laws
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Legal Minimum. Age of Consent for Marriage. Legal Minimum. Age for Marriage with Parental. Consent. Whether minors under the minimum legal age can marry.
In Texas, the legal age of consent for sex is 17 years old. This law applies equally to males and females, and to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. It means a person age 17 or older has the legal right to consent to sexual activity. Under Texas sexual offenses law, this act is considered aggravated sexual assault. When teens are involved, one Texas sex crime law allows for small differences in the age of the persons having sexual activity. This is known as Romeo and Juliet laws. Named after the young lovers in the classic Shakespeare romantic drama Romeo and Juliet , this law is designed to protect teens who are close in age from facing sex crime charges and convictions after having consensual sex, even if one or both teens are under the age of The same law also can protect such teens from having to register as a sex crime offender.
If someone younger than 17 years old has sex with a person who is no more than three years older, and no threat or force was applied, then a sex crime charge against the older person may be reduced or even dropped.
Age-of-consent laws don’t reflect teenage psychology. Here’s how to fix them.
If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about the issues described in this paper, please call Kids Helpline on 55 or Lifeline on 13 11 This document is provided as a guide only. Information is current up to the date of publication. Individuals are encouraged to check the currency of any information that is provided by contacting relevant departments or organisations.
This resource sheet is designed to inform practitioners and researchers about age of consent legislation in Australia. If you are a young person seeking advice on sexual relations please refer to some of the following websites:.
These are serious offences that carry serious penalties, including mandatory minimum penalties. Canada’s age of consent. The age of consent to.
We can also use that understanding to improve our laws protecting teenagers from sexual abuse. In particular, I think sexual consent laws would benefit from a concept used in contract law involving underage consumers and citizens. Such a system would put an extra onus on adults to make sure that they are not taking advantage of a younger person, strengthening the disincentive to troll malls and sweet-talk people just above the current age of consent. There is a scientific argument for modifying consent laws.
Though laws placing minimum ages on contracts, and sexual consent, were created before we knew that science, lawmakers intuitively if inconsistently recognized that teenagers do not make decisions in the same way adults do. We now know that the teenage brain does not finish maturing until sometime in the mids. The first thing we can say, therefore, is that age-of-consent laws that draw a bright line of sexual maturity at 18 or younger fail to consider the scientific data.
To be sure, levels of maturity vary by individual; setting one age as the advent of maturity is always going to be a gross proxy. That imprecision helps explain the wide variety of minimum ages reflected in American law.
Virginia’s Age of Consent Laws
Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense. For example, a state might set the age of consent at In these states, such as Texas, the age of consent is determined by age differentials between the two persons and limited by a minimum age.
With parental consent, there are no age limits regarding the minimum age for a couple to Stay up-to-date with how the law affects your life.
In the United States, age of consent laws regarding sexual activity are made at the state level. There are several federal statutes related to protecting minors from sexual predators, but laws regarding specific age requirements for sexual consent are left to individual states , District of Columbia , and territories. Depending on the jurisdiction, the legal age of consent is between 16 and In some places, civil and criminal laws within the same state conflict with each other.
Different jurisdictions express these definitions differently, like Argentina, may say the age of consent is 18, but an exception is made down to 13 years of age, if the older partner is not in a position of authority over the younger one. The data below reflects what each jurisdiction’s legislation actually means, rather than what it states on the surface. While the general ages of consent are now set between 16 and 18 in all U. In , the ages of consent were set at 10 or 12 in most states, with the exception of Delaware where it was 7.
The last 2 states to raise its age of general consent from under 16 to 16 or higher were Georgia, which raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 in ,  and Hawaii, which changed it from 14 to 16 in
Consent for sexual activity with an adult
Can I have sex with someone who is Y years old? The age of consent in Oklahoma is Therefore, it is generally legal for a year-old to have sex with anyone older than them. Sex between people who are years old is generally lawful. A variety of exceptions make that sex illegal. However, 21 O.
If an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with someone below the legal age, it is statutory rape, even if the younger party gave their.
This section focuses on laws addressing sexual intercourse. As the first column in Table 1 shows, the age of consent varies by state. In the majority of states 34 , it is 16 years of age. In the remaining states, the age of consent is either 17 or 18 years old 6 and 11 states, respectively. A common misperception about statutory rape is that state codes define a single age at which an individual can legally consent to sex. Only 12 states have a single age of consent , below which an individual cannot consent to sexual intercourse under any circumstances, and above which it is legal to engage in sexual intercourse with another person above the age of consent.
For example, in Massachusetts, the age of consent is In the remaining 39 states, other factors come into play: age differentials, minimum age of the victim, and minimum age of the defendant. Each is described below. Minimum age requirement. In 27 states that do not have a single age of consent, statutes specify the age below which an individual cannot legally engage in sexual intercourse regardless of the age of the defendant see the second column in Table 1. The minimum age requirements in these states range from 10 to 16 years of age.
Age of Consent
When it comes to protecting minors from sexual activity, the law determines the age of consent — i. If an adult engages in any form of sexual activity with someone below the legal age, it is statutory rape, even if the younger party gave their consent. This age varies across states, which all have their own laws on the subject.
She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in The laws about what age a young person can validly consent to sex are.
The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts. Consequently, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a person younger than the age of consent is unable to legally claim that the sexual activity was consensual, and such sexual activity may be considered child sexual abuse or statutory rape. The person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim, and their sex partner is regarded as the offender, unless both are underage.
The purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances. The term age of consent rarely appears in legal statutes. It has sometimes been used with other meanings, such as the age at which a person becomes competent to consent to marriage ,  but the meaning given above is the one now generally understood. It should not be confused with other laws regarding age minimums including, but not limited to, the age of majority , age of criminal responsibility , voting age , drinking age , and driving age.
Age of consent laws vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,  though most jurisdictions set the age of consent in the range 14 to The laws may also vary by the type of sexual act, the gender of the participants or other considerations, such as involving a position of trust ; some jurisdictions may also make allowances for minors engaged in sexual acts with each other, rather than a single age. Charges and penalties resulting from a breach of these laws may range from a misdemeanor , such as corruption of a minor , to what is popularly called statutory rape.
Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Law in Oklahoma
Washington law RCW Washington law Chapter 9A. These situations include coercion or compulsion; mental incapacity or physical helplessness; and differences in age or authority.
Covers legislation and definitions about children’s rights, ages of consent and criminal responsibility, school leaving age, child employment and.
The law in Victoria sets clear age limits for when you can legally have sex. This is called the age of consent. A person can be charged with a sexual offence if they perform a sexual act that breaks these age limits, even if the younger person agrees to it. The age of consent for same-sex relationships is the same as it is for heterosexual relationships. If you are under 12, a person can’t have sex with you or touch you sexually or perform a sexual act in front of you, even if you agree.
However, it is not an offence if the person honestly believed that you were 16 or if there was less than a two-year age difference between you. This is exactly two years. For example, if a person is 17 and has sex with someone who is 15, it is not a crime. But if the person was 18, it is a crime unless the person believed the person was 16 or older. A person who is caring for you or supervising you, like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer, can’t have sex with you or sexually touch you or perform a sexual act or indecent act with you or in front of you, even if you agree, unless they are married to you.
However, it is not an offence if the person honestly believed you were 18 or older. If someone has sex with you or touches you sexually when you are asleep, unconscious or so affected by alcohol or drugs that you are not able to freely agree, it is still a sexual offence. Find out how you can get help with sex and the law.