age of consent

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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 r**e. 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. Generally, a law will instead establish the age below which it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with that person. 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 18. 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 r**e.
There are many "grey areas" in this area of law, some regarding unspecific and untried legislation, others brought about by debates regarding changing societal attitudes, and others due to conflicts between federal and state laws. These factors all make age of consent an often confusing subject and a topic of highly charged debates.

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  1. G

    WA Age of consent cybersex

    Hi I have been chatting to a person online who says they are a 17 yr old girl from Scotland. I am over 40. Is it legal to chat about sex or exchange pics of a sexual nature. Am I required to confirm her age under the law Thanks GT
  2. X

    VIC Age of consent and issues around phone/cyber-sex across international borders

    I want to know under what circumstances it's illegal to engage in text-messaging discussing sexual activity, or phonesex with people overseas, if they already at the relevant age of consent in Australia. Is it illegal under Australian law even if the other person is of age of consent here, but...
  3. Jack Montague

    QLD Turning 18 but have a 16 year old girlfriend.

    Im a 17 year old male from Queensland, Australia. I have a girlfriend who is currently 16. We engage in sexual activity. I turn 18 whilst she is still 16. What will need to happen in terms of sexual activity?
  4. D

    NSW Third Party Custody - Getting Married After Age of Consent?

    Hi, I have a quick question. If a court has given third party custody of an under aged child to a person who is not family (mother's ex-partner) under the precedents of the child seeing the third party as a "father figure". Can the third party and the child get married when the child comes to...
  5. K

    QLD Age of Consent - Illegal to Date an 18-Year-Old?

    I turned 14 this year and she turned 18. We don’t live in the same country, it’s long distance. I’m Australian and she’s originally from England. We’re planning on meeting this year. We’re both females and are confused at the legal age of consent for “sex”. Do they even class lesbian sex as...
  6. Z

    QLD Age of Consent - 16-Year-Old Dating a 13-Year-Old?

    Is it legal for a 16-year-old male to date a 13-year-old female without sexual intercourse? Like just do dates and hug and normal stuff but have no sex or anything like that. Thanks
  7. M

    NSW I am over 18 and looking into policies regarding Dating An Under 18

    G'day, I've known my friend for a while, met randomly and can't remember how, I am 23 years old and she is only 16, I know in my family there have been age gaps as far as 9/10 years . So I was just curious as to whether it is legal or allowed for myself and my friend to date and see what...
  8. H

    NSW Sexual Age/Details on potential consequences

    Hi, I'm 18 & I'm facing a delemah.. My partner is 15, we flirted & talked for a very long time before we got together, I started to really emotionally connect & have feelings for her after about 3-4 months of talking, but I didn't think much of it cause I just thought "We don't hang out in...
  9. A

    SA Age of Consent - When to Have Legal Sexual Intercourse?

    Hi, Can a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old have legal sexual intercourse? Sorry for the dumb question, but I've been searching online for this and so far the answer has been pretty ambiguous. Can anyone please help? Thank you!
  10. J

    QLD Age of Consent - Sexual Intercourse with Someone Under 18?

    Can an over 18 have sex with someone under 18 but over 16 if both have given consent? So if I'm 19 and I am dating a girl who is 17. If we both give consent, is it ok or do I have to wait till she's 18?