Age of consent

What is consent?

Consent is another word for permission. Consent means there is permission from a person to do a sexual activity together. The permission needs to be given voluntarily and without any threat. Consent is needed from everyone involved whenever a sexual activity happens.  Each person can stop consenting at any time during a sexual activity.

The law says there are some situations where consent cannot be given because of the circumstances. These situations include:

  • when a person is forced into sexual activity through fear, coercion or intimidation
  • when a person’s decision-making is affected – for example, by drugs or alcohol
  • where the person is not old enough to give consent

How old must a person be to give consent?

It is illegal to have sex with someone if they are below a certain age. This is known as the age of consent. The law recognises that children cannot consent to sexual activity.

The age of consent may be different depending on what state or territory you live in. The age of consent may also be different depending on the relationship between the two people, their age difference and whether one person is in a position of authority over the other person.

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse and want advice about your legal options, please call knowmore on 1800 605 762.