Chronilogical age of permission and electronic technologies. >Provisions for appropriate defences in instances involving intimate tasks with an individual beneath the age that is legal

Present sex training programs for kids and teenagers aged below or at the chronilogical age of consent have shifted from a dominantly risk-based paradigm to building knowledge and resilience, specially with regard to contemporary matters such as for instance electronic technologies. General Public concern about young adults’s healthier development that is sexual includes debates regarding their utilization of information and interaction technologies, nearly all that are internet-enabled.

The use that is widespread of phones has generated lots of appropriate interventions that make an effort to protect kids from intimate exploitation in online surroundings. Sexting rules provide an illustration of this just exactly how electronic sexual intercourse does definitely not align with wider age of permission guidelines in Australia. McLelland (2016, p.4) points out that, “in many jurisdictions conditions geared towards protecting teenagers from intimate predation and exploitation may also be used to criminalise and prosecute the intimate self-expression of these underneath the chronilogical age of 18” – even if the person that is young at the chronilogical age of permission. A study of Australian teenagers and their sexting behaviours discovers that, “16-17 year olds must navigate practices that are sexual could be both consensual and appropriate, but unlawful to visually record” (Albury, Crawford, & Byron, 2013, p. 4). This will provide challenges to teenagers and those that make use of them.

To learn more about teenagers and sexting, see Lawstuff and also the workplace of the youngsters’s eSafety Commissioner.

Conditions for appropriate defences in situations involving intimate tasks with an individual beneath the appropriate age

If somebody is accused of participating in sexual behavior with somebody underneath the age that is legal there are many statutory defences available, that are outlined in legislation. While legislation differs in each continuing state and territory, as a whole 2 kinds of defences can be found (Cameron, 2007). The very first type relates to if the accused believed on reasonable grounds that the individual with who they involved in intimate behavior ended up being over the appropriate chronilogical age of permission. All jurisdictions (except brand brand New Southern Wales) have actually conditions with this defence in legislation; nevertheless, several variants occur regarding limitations on the utilization of the defence in line with the chronilogical age of the alleged victim. The defence can’t be used in the event that target’s age at the time of the so-called offense had been:

The statutory that is second pertains to situations when the two different people are near in age. For instance, in Tasmania it really is a defence in the event that son or daughter is 15 years old therefore the accused individual ended up being no more than 5 years more than the little one, or if the little one ended up being above 12 years of age as well as the accused individual ended up being no more than 3 years more than the kid. In Victoria additionally the Australian Capital Territory, participating in intimate behavior underneath the appropriate age can be defended in the event that defendant had not been significantly more than 2 yrs older, as well as in Western Australia no more than three years older, than the individual against who the offense is purported to are committed. In Victoria and Western Australia there’s also a appropriate supply for defence in the event that accused can show they’ve been lawfully hitched to your kid. Details for any other states are located in Table 2.

If somebody is charged with participating in intimate tasks with an individual beneath the appropriate age, a appropriate defence is outlined in section 45(4). It states that:

The Nationwide Framework for Protecting Australia’s Kids 2009-2020

Certainly one of the main element supporting results for the nationwide Framework for Protecting Australia’s kids 2009-2020 1 is: “son or daughter abuse that is sexual exploitation is avoided and survivors get sufficient support” (Department of Social Services, 2013, para. 6). The framework covers the significance of increasing understanding and wider knowledge when you look at the community in regards to the need for healthier relationships.


Chronilogical age of permission rules are essential measures for protecting young ones and young people from intimate predation and exploitation. Whether or not the intimate discussion between a grown-up and someone underneath the chronilogical age of permission appeared consensual is irrelevant, as kiddies and teenagers are determined in law to lack the decision-making ability to consent to sex with a grownup. Adolescence is a vital stage of development, by which young adults are developing autonomy, learning how to form intimate relationships outside the family, and desire that is negotiating. The task for legislation is to find the stability that insures chronilogical age of consent guidelines protect young adults from adult sexual exploitation in a way that does not disempower them or criminalise the intimate research with peers this is certainly normal due to their age and stage in life.

For lots more information regarding differentiating peer sexual assault from developmentally appropriate intimate exploration, see papers on Peer Sexual Assault together with prevalence and handling of problem or harmful intimate behavior in Australian young ones and young adults: analysis available literary works (upcoming AIFS book).


1 Copies regarding the nationwide Framework for Protecting Australia’s kids 2009-2020 and connected documents could be downloaded through the Department of personal Services site

Writers and Acknowledgements

This paper ended up being updated by Alissar El-Murr, Research Officer using the grouped Family Law and Family Violence team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This content is present at the time of June 2017.

Past editions have already been published by Adam Dean, Debbie Scott and Alister Lamont.