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Individuals are encouraged to check the currency of any information that is provided by contacting relevant departments or organisations.This sheet is designed to inform practitioners and researchers of age of consent legislation in Australia.A reasonable degree of equality needs to exist between the parties engaged in sexual activities, whether that pertains to relationships (authority and dependency), physical and/or intellectual capacity, or age (Conroy, Krishnakumar, & Leone, 2015; Craig, 2014; Mc Carthy & Thompson, 2004; Ryan, 1997).Gender and gender inequality also play a role in sexual consent. 1294) find that "adolescent sexual values, personal beliefs and expectations about sex are deeply shaped by gendered behaviours regulated by their peer and social environments." Coercion can be described as the peer pressure put on one child by another to achieve compliance (Ryan, 1997). The lower end may include implied authority, manipulation, trickery or bribery.In situations where there is a clear age difference - for example a teenager and a young child - any sexual interaction is sexual abuse, as there is a definite power imbalance.However, when both parties are close in age, identifying whether the sexual activity is abusive is more complex.Recent sex education programs for children and young people aged below or at the age of consent have shifted from a dominantly risk-based paradigm to building knowledge and resilience, particularly with regard to contemporary matters such as digital technologies.

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Police on 000. Information is current up to the date of publication.In Tasmania and South Australia the age of consent is 17 years of age.Although the legal age of consent throughout Australia is either 16 or 17 years of age, legislation in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory makes it an offence for a person in a supervisory role to sexually engage with a person under their special care who is aged 16 or 17 years.The widespread use of mobile phones has led to a number of legal interventions that attempt to protect children from sexual exploitation in online environments.Sexting laws provide a good example of how digital sexual activity does not necessarily align with broader age of consent laws in Australia.

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