Is it against the law for a 16 year old to hav sex with an 18 year old?
Hi there and thanks for getting in contacting with us.
Different states and territories have differing laws about how old a person needs to be before they can legally have sex (called the age of consent).
In Victoria, the law says:
- you can't have sex with a family member (called incest). A "family member" includes parents, step-parents, siblings, adopted and step-siblings, uncles, aunties, and cousins
- you also can't have a sexual relationship with a de facto partner of your dad or mum while you are under 18
- the laws about legal age of sexual consent are the same for everyone, regardless of the gender of the sexual partner.
Victorian law also says that if you are 16 or 17 and have sex with someone who has a relationship of "care, supervision or authority" over you (e.g. they are a teacher, guardian, foster parent, sports coach, doctor, driving instructor, youth justice worker), they can be charged with a criminal offence. A person may be able to defend themselves against this kind of charge if you agreed to have sex with them and they "believed on reasonable grounds" that you were 18 or older, or that they are legally married to you.
What this means is that in Victoria, a 16-year-old can have sex with an 18-year-old as long as the older person is not in a position of care or responsibility over the 16-year-old, or a family member (unless the two people are married or the older person honestly believed the younger person was 18 years old or older).
If you are having sex, remember to use a condom every time to protect yourself against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. You can get free condoms and advice about contraception at a youth clinic in the city (details below). Good luck and take care.