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Age of consent laws in Australia,Dating and relationships

 · There are generally no laws about when a young person can start dating another young person, but there are lots of laws around doing sexual acts with another Age of consent laws cannot be considered in isolation from other laws concerning issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse. For more information about the legislation concerning AdHalf Of Aussies Dating Online Use RSVP. To Chat Now, Join Free Today! Find Your Match On RSVP Today. Join Now For free!Most Trusted · Local Singles · Success Stories · Market Leading ... read more

Contact Us. Media releases AIFS Conference proceedings. Media enquiries. Search AIFS. Home Practice resources Resource sheets. Content type. Download Resource sheet Age of consent laws in Australia 2. Information for children and young people This reference guide is for professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector. If you are a child or young person who wants to learn more about sex, consent and respectful relationships, see the following websites: ReachOut has information on sex and relationships for young people.

Kids Helpline provides information for young people about what consent means when engaging in sexual activity. It also provides a national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. Youth Law Australia provides free, confidential legal information and help for young people under 25 years, including information about age of consent laws for your state or territory.

Legal definitions of consent Legal definitions of consent Legal definitions of consent vary between Australian state and territory jurisdictions see Table 1 for links to the legislation. Jurisdiction Legislation ACT Crimes Act Section 67 NSW Crimes Act Section 61HE NT Criminal Code Act Section Qld Criminal Code Act Section SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 46 Tas.

Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 2A Vic. Crimes Act Section 36 WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section 2. Why do age of consent laws exist? What is the legal age of consent in Australian jurisdictions? Jurisdiction Legislation Age of consent ACT Crimes Act Section 55 16 years NSW Crimes Act Section 66C 16 years NT Criminal Code Act Section 16 years Qld Criminal Code Act Section 16 years SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 49 17 years Tas.

Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 17 years Vic. Crimes Act Section 49B 16 years WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section 16 years. Common questions Common questions How do I report suspected child abuse and respond to disclosures? Is it legal for someone in a supervisory role to have sexual interactions with a 16 or 17 year old under their special care? What if both parties are under the age of consent or of similar age?

Can children and young people send each other nude images? What supports professionals in identifying and responding to sexual behaviours among children and young people? How do I report suspected child abuse and respond to disclosures? Jurisdiction Legislation ACT Crimes Act Section 55A NSW Crimes Act Section 73 NT Criminal Code Act Section Qld a Criminal Code Act Section SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 57 Tas.

a Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 2A Vic. Crimes Act Sections 49C, 49E, 49G, 49L WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section Note: a No specific mention of 'special care' is made in the legislation for these states. Harmful sexual behaviours are defined as: Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful to self or others, or may be abusive to another child, young person or adult.

Good Practice in Responding to Young People with Harmful Sexual Behaviours: Key Findings and Future Directions , published by ANROWS. Adolescents with Sexually Abusive Behaviours and Their Families: Best Interests Case Practice Model Specialist Practice Resource , published by the Victorian Government Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Children with Problem Sexual Behaviours and Their Families: Best Interests Case Practice Model Specialist Practice Resource , published by the Victorian Government Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Service Models for Children Under 10 with Problematic Sexual Behaviours: Evidence Check , published by the Sax Institute for the NSW Ministry of Health.

A Continuum of Responses for Harmful Sexual Behaviours, published by the Commissioner for Children and Young People Western Australia. Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework: An Evidence-Informed Operational Framework for Children and Young People Displaying Harmful Sexual Behaviours , published by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Conclusion Conclusion Age of consent laws are important measures for protecting children and young people from sexual predation and exploitation.

References References Albury, K. Young people and sexting in Australia: Ethics, representation and the law. Kensington: University of New South Wales. Australian Law Reform Commission. Family Violence: A National Legal Response. Final Report. Sydney: Australian Law Reform Commission. Retrieved from www. An introduction to the juvenile sex offender. Marshall Eds. New York: The Guild Press.

Boxall, H. Brief review of contemporary sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia: update. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. Problem sexual behaviours and sexually abusive behaviours in Australian children and young people CFCA Paper. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

eSafety Commissioner. Sending nudes and sexting. Canberra: eSafety Commissioner. Sexual assault laws in Australia ACSSA Resource Sheet No. Retrieved from aifs. Children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours.

Berridge Eds. Peer violence between children and young people pp. London: Blackwell Wiley. Powell, A. Sex, power and consent: Youth culture and the unwritten rules. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Quadara, A. Conceptualising the prevention of child sexual abuse: Final report Research Report No. Good practice in delivering and evaluating interventions for young people with harmful sexual behaviours Research Report Issue Sydney: ANROWS. Acknowledgements This reference guide was updated by Adam Dean, formerly a Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Related topics Adolescents and young people Sex and relationships Child abuse and neglect Child protection and abuse prevention Working with children and young people. Crimes Act Section Crimes Act Section 61HE. Criminal Code Act Section Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section A sexual act can include many different types of activities, such as:. Consent is required for any sexual act, not just those involving penetration. There are also special laws that apply to recording a sexual activity with another person or sending or receiving sexual pictures or videos.

For more information about these laws please see our pages on sexting and image-based abuse. It is useful to think of consent as an enthusiastic yes! It is never okay for someone to force you to keep going if you want to stop. You can also change your mind or withdraw your consent at any time. Consent is really important, and we recommend you check out our page on consent if you are thinking of having sex or doing something sexual with another person.

The age of consent is the age at which the law says a person can agree to do a sexual activity with another person. If you are under this age, the law says that you cannot legally consent to a sexual act, and any person who does a sexual act with you has broken the law. In Queensland, the age of consent is If you are 16 years old and above, you can legally engage in sexual acts with another person who is 16 years or older as long as you both agree to it.

A person who is under the age of 12 can never consent to sexual activity. In Queensland, there is a legal defence which can be raised when someone is charged with a crime for having sex with someone under This defence can apply if a person has sex with someone aged and they reasonably thought that person was aged 16 or older. However, raising a defence to a criminal charge can be complicated!

It is also a crime for someone of any age to have sexual intercourse with a close family member including a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle — even if there is consent. If you are under 25 and you have any questions about these laws, please contact us for free and confidential legal advice here. If someone has done something without your permission or that has made you feel uncomfortable they may have sexually abused you.

This is NEVER okay. For more information about sexual abuse take a look at this page. You can contact us for free and confidential legal advice here. If someone is found guilty of breaking the laws around sex and consent, they may be convicted of a criminal offence. Sexual offences can carry serious penalties, and a person who has been convicted of a sexual offence against a child may be placed on th e Child Protection Offender Register.

If you think you might have broken these laws, or you are worried about the police contacting you, you can contact us for free and confidential legal advice. If you think someone else might have broken these laws and their behaviour has affected you, please also contact us. Deciding to start a sexual relationship with someone, or have sex with them, is a big step. And if you say yes and then decide you no longer want to do something, you can stop at any time.

The other person must respect your choice. If they do something sexual with you without your agreement, they are committing a serious crime. If you are thinking about having sex, please be aware of the risks that are involved with unsafe or unprotected sex.

Child Family Community Australia. This reference guide is for professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector. If you are a child or young person who wants to learn more about sex, consent and respectful relationships, see the following websites:. This reference guide provides information for professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector about age of consent laws in Australia.

Age of consent laws attempt to strike a balance between protecting children and young people from exploitation and other harms and preserving their right to privacy and healthy sexual development. Young people at the age of consent are viewed by law to have general sexual competence to enforce personal boundaries and negotiate the risks involved in sexual activities.

When an adult engages in sexual behaviour with someone below the age of consent, they are committing a criminal offence child sexual abuse. This reference guide outlines how consent is legally defined and why age of consent laws are needed to help protect children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse. It then summarises age of consent laws by state and territory jurisdiction.

It also answers common questions from professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector on related issues, including reporting, responding to disclosures, laws for those in supervisory roles, developmentally appropriate sexual behaviours, and digital technology. Age of consent laws cannot be considered in isolation from other laws concerning issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Legal definitions of consent vary between Australian state and territory jurisdictions see Table 1 for links to the legislation.

Consent is an individual's free agreement to participate in an activity. Consent can only be given if it is free and voluntary, without fear, coercion, intimidation or anything else that inhibits free agreement Australian Law Reform Commission, ; Powell, Consent also needs to be actively communicated in order to establish a free agreement Fileborn, ; Powell, ; this is known as 'positive consent' Fileborn, It is not enough to say that an individual consented just because they did not refuse or resist.

Age of consent laws are designed to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse from adults and older young people. Such laws determine that children and young people below the age of consent are yet to reach a level of general maturity enabling their safe participation in sexual activities.

In relation to sexual abuse laws in each state and territory, the key difference between child sexual assault and adult sexual assault is that adult sexual assault is based on the absence of sexual consent, whereas in child sexual assault, a child does not have the decision-making capacity to give consent according to law. The legal age for consensual sex varies between 16 and 17 years across Australian state and territory jurisdictions see Table 2. For other sexual activities, the criminal legislation relating to different types of sexual behaviours and interactions varies across Australian jurisdictions.

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for receiving reports of suspected child abuse and neglect from members of the public. Reporting child abuse and neglect is a community-wide responsibility. Further information on reporting child abuse and neglect can be found in the CFCA Resource Sheet: Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

Certain groups of people are required by law to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child or young person to government authorities. Further information and guidelines regarding mandatory reporting can be found in the CFCA Resource Sheet: Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect. If a child or young person has disclosed abuse or neglect to you, it is important to stay calm and reassure them that you will help them to be safe.

For information on how to respond to disclosures of abuse, see the CFCA Practitioner Resource: Responding to Children and Young People's Disclosures of Abuse. For information, counselling support and service referral, contact details and links to helplines and telephone counselling services can be found in the CFCA Resource sheet: Helplines, Telephone and Online Counselling Services for Children, Young People and Adults. Although the legal age of consent throughout Australia is either 16 or 17 years of age, legislation in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia makes it an offence for a person in a supervisory role to have sexual interactions with a person under their special care who is aged 16 or 17 years.

A person in a supervisory role providing special care may include: a teacher, foster parent, religious official or spiritual leader, a medical practitioner, an employer of the child or a custodial official. Table 3 provides links to the relevant state or territory legislation regarding sexual interactions with 16 and 17 year olds under special care. Note: a No specific mention of 'special care' is made in the legislation for these states.

Instead, links have been provided to relevant state legislation regarding sexual interactions with 16 and 17 year olds. A number of jurisdictions provide a legal defence when a mutually consensual sexual interaction is between two young people close in age the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

These jurisdictions are attempting to find a balance between protecting children and young people from adult sexual exploitation while not criminalising them for having sexual relationships with their peers. The Youth Law Australia website contains more information about how age of consent laws apply to young people engaging in sexual activities with their peers for each state and territory. These laws apply to children and young people sending each other nudes sexting. Children and young people may be at risk of criminal charges if they break these laws.

There are some differences between Commonwealth laws and state and territory laws. In some jurisdictions, 'these laws only apply to images of children and young people under 16 or 17' years, whereas Commonwealth laws apply to young people up to 18 years eSafety Commissioner, Some jurisdictions have introduced defences or exceptions to these laws to allow for consensual sexting between young people of similar ages eSafety Commissioner, For more information about young people and sexting , see the eSafety Commissioner website.

Age of consent laws exist not only to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse from adults and older young people; but also to give them time to be developmentally mature enough to make healthy, safe decisions about sexual interactions and relationships between children and young people. Professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector have a role in appropriately identifying, understanding and responding to children and young people's displays of sexual behaviour to support healthy sexual development and ensure children and young people are protected from harm and abuse.

In identifying sexual behaviours and determining an appropriate response, there are two main aspects to understand El-Murr, ; Quadara et al. Harmful sexual behaviours are defined as:. Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful to self or others, or may be abusive to another child, young person or adult. derived from Hackett, , cited in Quadara et al.

Within the harmful sexual behaviours framework, developmentally appropriate sexual behaviours are those that may be expected as part of normal sexual development in children and young people according to their age group e. Sexual behaviours are categorised as El-Murr, ; Quadara et al.

Harmful or abusive sexual behaviours sit along a continuum of sexual behaviours in children and young people Hackett, ; Quadara et al. For more information about identifying and responding to sexual behaviours exhibited by children and young people, see the following resources:.

Age of consent laws are important measures for protecting children and young people from sexual predation and exploitation. As outlined in this guide, consent means being able to freely and voluntarily agree to participate in an activity, without fear, coercion, intimidation or anything else that would prevent free agreement. Age of consent laws define the age at which an individual has the legal capacity to consent to sexual interactions.

This reference guide has outlined how consent and the age of consent is legally defined in Australia, including how this varies by state and territory legislation. It has also provided an overview of what Australian laws apply to reporting suspected child abuse, responding to disclosures, sexual interactions for those in supervisory roles, developmentally appropriate sexual behaviours and consensual sexual interactions between children and young people. This reference guide was updated by Adam Dean, formerly a Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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Commissioned reports Journal articles Family Matters journal. View all publications. CFCA information exchange View all practice resources. About AIFS Work with us. What we do Our researchers. Contact Us. Media releases AIFS Conference proceedings. Media enquiries. Search AIFS. Home Practice resources Resource sheets. Content type. Download Resource sheet Age of consent laws in Australia 2.

Information for children and young people This reference guide is for professionals in the child, family and community welfare sector.

If you are a child or young person who wants to learn more about sex, consent and respectful relationships, see the following websites: ReachOut has information on sex and relationships for young people. Kids Helpline provides information for young people about what consent means when engaging in sexual activity. It also provides a national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Youth Law Australia provides free, confidential legal information and help for young people under 25 years, including information about age of consent laws for your state or territory. Legal definitions of consent Legal definitions of consent Legal definitions of consent vary between Australian state and territory jurisdictions see Table 1 for links to the legislation.

Jurisdiction Legislation ACT Crimes Act Section 67 NSW Crimes Act Section 61HE NT Criminal Code Act Section Qld Criminal Code Act Section SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 46 Tas.

Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 2A Vic. Crimes Act Section 36 WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section 2. Why do age of consent laws exist? What is the legal age of consent in Australian jurisdictions?

Jurisdiction Legislation Age of consent ACT Crimes Act Section 55 16 years NSW Crimes Act Section 66C 16 years NT Criminal Code Act Section 16 years Qld Criminal Code Act Section 16 years SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 49 17 years Tas. Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 17 years Vic. Crimes Act Section 49B 16 years WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section 16 years.

Common questions Common questions How do I report suspected child abuse and respond to disclosures? Is it legal for someone in a supervisory role to have sexual interactions with a 16 or 17 year old under their special care? What if both parties are under the age of consent or of similar age? Can children and young people send each other nude images? What supports professionals in identifying and responding to sexual behaviours among children and young people? How do I report suspected child abuse and respond to disclosures?

Jurisdiction Legislation ACT Crimes Act Section 55A NSW Crimes Act Section 73 NT Criminal Code Act Section Qld a Criminal Code Act Section SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act Section 57 Tas. a Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 2A Vic. Crimes Act Sections 49C, 49E, 49G, 49L WA Criminal Code Act Compilation Act Section Note: a No specific mention of 'special care' is made in the legislation for these states.

Harmful sexual behaviours are defined as: Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful to self or others, or may be abusive to another child, young person or adult.

Sex and dating,What is sex and sexual activity?

Age of consent laws cannot be considered in isolation from other laws concerning issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse. For more information about the legislation concerning AdHalf Of Aussies Dating Online Use RSVP. To Chat Now, Join Free Today! Find Your Match On RSVP Today. Join Now For free!Most Trusted · Local Singles · Success Stories · Market Leading  · There are generally no laws about when a young person can start dating another young person, but there are lots of laws around doing sexual acts with another ... read more

Harmful sexual behaviours are defined as:. About AIFS Work with us. Criminal Code Act Schedule 1, Section 17 years Vic. This reference guide was updated by Adam Dean, formerly a Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Problem sexual behaviours and sexually abusive behaviours in Australian children and young people CFCA Paper. In Queensland, grooming may occur where a person especially an adult communicates with a young person who is under 16 years old so that they can sexually abuse that young person, or shows a young person who is under 16 sexual material like a film or a picture.

Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. If someone is found guilty of breaking the laws around sex and consent, they may be convicted of a criminal offence. Consent is really important, and we recommend you check out our page on consent if you are thinking of having sex or doing something sexual with another person. Legal definitions of consent vary between Australian state and territory jurisdictions see Table 1 for links to the legislation. Sexual offences can carry serious penalties, online dating laws australia, and a person who has been convicted of a sexual offence against a child may be placed on th e Child Protection Offender Register. As outlined in this guide, consent means being able to freely and voluntarily online dating laws australia to participate in an activity, without fear, coercion, intimidation or anything else that would prevent free agreement.

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