Laws regarding legal dating ages
In relation to sexual abuse charges 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sexual assault is based on the absence of sexual consent, whereas in child sexual assault, the issue of consent is superseded by age of consent laws (Eade, 2003).
An important distinction should be made between "willingness" and "consent".
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.
The top end of the continuum may include physical force, threats of harm and overt violence.
Age of consent laws are designed to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation and abuse.
For more information about young people and sexting, see Lawstuff and the Office of the Children's e Safety Commissioner.
The age of consent is 16 years of age in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
In Tasmania and South Australia the age of consent is 17 years of age.
According to theoretical and practical understandings of consent, those key elements include: Equality relates to the balance of power and control between those involved in sexual activities.
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).
Developmentally appropriate sexual exploration is when there is mutual agreement between same- or similar-aged peers, it is non-coercive and all participants have the control to participate, continue or stop the behaviour (Barbaree & Marshall, 2006).