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Encyclopedia > Age of consent
Age of consent laws Worldwide

While the phrase age of consent typically does not appear in legal statutes,[1] when used with reference to criminal law the age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered to be capable of legally giving informed consent to any contract or behaviour regulated by law with another person. This article refers specifically to those laws regulating sexual acts. This should not be confused with the age of majority, age of criminal responsibility, or the marriageable age. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 352 pixelsFull resolution (1427 × 628 pixel, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a Worldwide overview of Age of consent laws, based on verified information from Age of consent and its associated subpages. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 352 pixelsFull resolution (1427 × 628 pixel, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a Worldwide overview of Age of consent laws, based on verified information from Age of consent and its associated subpages. ... The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... Informed consent is a legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon an appreciation and understanding of the facts and implications of an action. ... This article is about sexual practices (i. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The defense of infancy is a form of defense known as an excuse so that defendants falling within the definition of an infant are excluded from criminal liability for their actions, if at the relevant time, they had not reached an age of criminal responsibility. ... . ...


The age of consent varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.[1] The median seems to range from 16 to 18 years, but laws stating ages ranging from 12 to 21 do exist. Some jurisdictions forbid sexual activity outside of legal marriage completely. The relevant age may also vary by the type of sexual act, the sex of the actors, or other restrictions such as abuse of a position of trust. Some jurisdictions may also make allowances for minors engaged in sexual acts with each other, rather than a hard and fast single age. Charges resulting from a breach of these laws may range from a relatively low-level misdemeanor such as "corruption of a minor," to "statutory rape" (which is considered equivalent to rape, both in severity and sentencing). Position of trust is a legal term used in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and perhaps other countries. ... A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour, in many common law legal systems, is a lesser criminal act. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


There are many grey areas in this area of law, some regarding unspecific and untried legislation, others brought about by debates regarding changing societal attitudes, and others due to conflicts between federal and state laws. These factors all make age of consent an often confusing subject, and a topic of highly charged debates.[1] Gray Area n. ...

Contents

Social attitudes

Social (and the resulting legal) attitudes toward the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times; while ages from 10 through to 13 were typically acceptable in the mid-Nineteenth Century[1] , 15 through to 18 had become the norm in many countries by the end of the Twentieth Century. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ...


Moral philosophy

The general moral philosophy behind age of consent laws is the assumed need for the protection of minors. It is a common belief in many societies that minors below a certain age lack the maturity and/or life experience to fully understand the ramifications of engaging in sexual acts. These fears may include but are not limited to resulting pregnancies and psychological or physical damage. There is an ongoing debate in many cultures regarding child sexuality as it relates to age and an appropriate age of consent.[1] It is these debates that have informed the various laws in different jurisdictions and account for their disparity. Different cultures regard minors engaging in sexual activity as anything from normal to deviant behavior in need of correction. In law, a person who is not yet a legal adult is known as a minor (known in some places as an infant or juvenile). ... Maturity may refer to: Sexual maturity Maturity, a geological term describing hydrocarbon generation Maturity, a financial term indicating the end of payments of principal or interest Look up Maturity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Child sexuality refers to sexual feelings, behavior and development in children. ... Deviant redirects here. ...


Religious basis

Many legal systems refer to or are informed by the moral viewpoint of lawmakers, or refer to or appeal to cultural and religious norms. For example the Common law systems practised in the United Kingdom and its former colonies were developed in the context of Christian values and Western Philosophy. Similarly the Laws in many Muslim based countries are based on the Qur'an and the resulting Sharia. In some legal systems secular philosophies form part of the culture and likewise are part of the context in which the laws are formed, sometimes leading to changes in the law of previous periods. Difference in opinion between various religious and secular groups forms a part of the cultural context of age of consent. A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... The term Christian values usually refers to values the speaker feels represent those found in the teachings of Christ as described in parts of the United States. ... Western philosophy is a modern claim that there is a line of related philosophical thinking, beginning in ancient Greece (Greek philosophy) and the ancient Near East (the Abrahamic religions), that continues to this day. ... There is also a collection of Hadith called Sahih Muslim A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalman or Mosalmon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Alcoran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic law. ... George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906), British writer who coined the term secularism. ...


Law

Sexual relations with a person under the age of consent is in general a criminal offence, with punishments ranging from token fines to life imprisonment. Many different terms exist for the charges laid and include statutory rape, illegal carnal knowledge, or corruption of a minor.[1] for other uses please see Crime (disambiguation) A crime is an act that violates a political or moral law. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... DVD cover Carnal Knowledge is a 1971 American drama film. ...


The enforcement practices of age of consent laws tend to vary depending on the social sensibilities of the particular culture (see above). Often enforcement is not exercised to the letter of the law, with legal action being taken only when a sufficiently socially-unacceptable age gap exists between the two individuals, or if the perpetrator is in a position of authority over the minor. For example; a teacher, priest or doctor. The gender of each actor can also influence perceptions of an individual's guilt and therefore enforcement.[1] Gender in common usage refers to the sexual distinction between male and female. ...


Close in age exceptions

While some legislation dealing with age of consent sets a hard and fast age under which sexual relations are prohibited, some jurisdictions have included exceptions to this. The exception can take the form of a defense at trial on the grounds of the close age of the participants, or can be an actual close in age exemption in the law negating any charges. The latter details acceptable age ranges for consensual sex between peers that otherwise would not be legal because one or both of the participants would be below the age of consent. The age differences of these two types of legislation vary by jurisdiction, from as low as one year (as in South Australia) to as high as ten years (as in Colorado). The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Australia and Oceania. ... The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across North America. ...


Defenses

The age of consent is a legal barrier to the minor being able to give consent and as such obtaining consent is not in general a defence to having sexual relations with a person under the prescribed age. However, there are some defences in some jurisdictions; common examples include;

  • Limited mistake of age - Where the accused can show mistaken belief that the victim was not under the age of consent. However, where such a defense is provided, it normally applies only when the victim is close to the age of consent or the accused can show due diligence in determining the age of the victim. (ex: A 15 year old who used a fake ID to get into a bar for people 21 & older.)
  • Marriage - In those jurisdictions where the marriageable age is less than the age of consent.

These different defenses can change dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, even between neighbouring states of the same union with the same age of consent. Due diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person, or the performance of an act with a certain standard of care. ... . ...


Extraterritoriality

Increasingly the age of consent laws of a state are applied not only to acts committed on its own territory, but also acts committed by its nationals or inhabitants on foreign territory[1]. This is of questionable legality under international law but such questions are often ignored or neglected, for the most part for social and/or religious reasons. Such provisions have been frequently adopted to help reduce the incidence of child sex tourism. See the relevant sections below for discussion of laws in specific jurisdictions. See also Universal jurisdiction; the effective age of consent may be the highest of those corresponding to the list in Applicable jurisdictions. Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual intercourse or sexual activity with prostitutes, and is typically undertaken internationally by tourists from wealthier countries whose payment for services may then be rendered either in cash or in kind. ... Universal jurisdiction or universality principle is a controversial principle in international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting country. ...


Homosexual and heterosexual age discrepancies in law

Due to homosexuality laws, some jurisdictions have different ages of consent for heterosexual and homosexual intercourse, while some jurisdictions outlaw homosexual intercourse altogether. These disparities are increasingly being challenged. Cases such as Lawrence v. Texas in the Supreme Court of the United States and Morris v. The United Kingdom in the European Court of Human Rights have set precedents for international law.[2] For specific examples see the articles listed under Ages of consent in various countries below. World laws on homosexuality Legality of same-sex unions in the US. Legality of same-sex unions in Europe. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. ... It has been suggested that Matthew Limon be merged into this article or section. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries  Atlas  Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym... Chris Morris Chris Morris was the teenage gay activist responsible for equalising the homosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom, aided by the campaigning organisation Stonewall. ... European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), often referred to informally as the Strasbourg Court, was created to systematise the hearing of human rights complaints against States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


Other concerns

Marriage

Main article: Marriageable age

The age at which a person can be legally married can also differ from the age of consent. In some jurisdictions this can negate the age of consent laws where the marriageable age is lower than the age of consent, but in others it does not. Further still, some jurisdictions have no actual age of consent but require persons to be married before they can legally engage in sexual activity. . ...


Pornography

Main article: Child pornography

Discrepancies also exist in some areas between the age of consent and the legal barrier at which an individual can appear in pornographic images and films. In many jurisdictions, the minimum age for legal participation and viewing of such productions is 18. Films and images showing individuals under the age of 18 (or who appear to be under in some jurisdictions) in applicable jurisdictions are classified as child pornography, even though the legal age of consent in those same jurisdictions is lower than 18. Child pornography refers to pornographic material depicting children. ... Porn redirects here. ...


Prostitution

While the legality of adult prostitution varies between different parts of the world, the prostitution of minors is illegal in most countries. Furthermore, some countries enforce worldwide jurisdiction over any involvement in child prostitution by their nationals. Prostitution of children refers to the use of children as prostitutes. ... Whore redirects here. ... In law, a person who is not yet a legal adult is known as a minor (known in some places as an infant or juvenile). ...


The most common definition of a 'child' in this context is a person that is under the age of 18, although the laws of some countries distinguish between teenage prostitutes and the prostitution of younger children. For example, the Thai government defines a teenage prostitute as being between 15 and 18 years old, while the Japanese government defines one as being between 13 and 18. The age boundary for teenage prostitution is generally not the same as the age of consent in those countries.


Statutory rape

Main article: Statutory rape

Where a jurisdiction's age of consent laws for sexual activity treat those convicted of those laws with the same severity as criminal rape the law is often referred to as statutory rape. This is an emotive title to some who view the age of consent laws as lesser crimes or as no crime at all. The different titles of age of consent laws include statutory rape, rape of a child, corruption of a minor, carnal knowledge of a minor and so on. However, in the vernacular many of these terms are interchangeable and little differentiation is made. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Vernacular in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Initiatives to change the age of consent

Main article: Age of consent reform

Age of consent reform refers to the efforts of some individuals or groups, for different reasons and with varying arguments, to raise, lower, abolish or otherwise alter age of consent laws. These efforts advocate five main positions: Age of consent reform refers to efforts meant to change age of consent laws. ...

  • An introduction of close-in-age exemptions.
  • A change in the way age of consent laws are examined in court.
  • An increase in the ages of consent, more severe penalties for violation of these laws or both.
  • A decrease in the ages of consent, less severe penalties for violation of these laws or both.
  • To abolish the age of consent laws altogether or as a temporary practical expedient.

There is an ongoing debate over these laws. However, critics on both sides of these arguments are often arguing at cross purposes due to their differences in defining what exactly the age of consent laws are to achieve and who they are intended to protect. For example those advocating close in age exceptions may be held up by their opponents as contradicting the protective nature of the age of consent law.


Ages of consent in various countries

Countries are listed under the above regions

Specific jurisdictions' laws relating to age of Consent can be found on the following pages: Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 406 pixelsFull resolution (1488 × 755 pixel, file size: 37 KB, MIME type: image/png) Based on Image:BlankMap-World. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 406 pixelsFull resolution (1488 × 755 pixel, file size: 37 KB, MIME type: image/png) Based on Image:BlankMap-World. ...


Listed by region

__ Africa The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Africa. ...


__ Asia The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Asia. ...


__ Australia and Pacific Region The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Australia and Oceania. ...


__ Europe The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Europe. ...


__ North America The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across North America. ...


__ Latin America (Including Mexico and Central America) The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across Latin America. ...


__ While there are no specific age of consent laws in the Antarctic, in the unlikely event of a minor engaging in sexual activity, under the Antarctic Treaty, scientists and support staff stationed there may be subject to the laws of the party of which they are nationals. Other visitors to the continent may need to follow the laws of the country in which their expedition is organised, or the country from which it departs.[3] For the Antarctic Treaty from the Gundam anime, see Antarctic Treaty (Gundam) The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate the international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earths only uninhabited continent. ...


Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Waites, Matthew (2005). The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-2173-3. 
  2. ^ Legal wrap up survey. www.ilga.org (2006-07-20). Retrieved on 2006-10-21.
  3. ^ What is the treaty?. Australian Antarctic Division (2006-03-23). Retrieved on 2006-07-18.

Shortcut: WP:-( Vandalism is indisputable bad-faith addition, deletion, or change to content, made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia. ... Shortcut: WP:-( Vandalism is indisputable bad-faith addition, deletion, or change to content, made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 199th day of the year (200th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Further reading

Published books on the subject:

  • Waites, Matthew (2005) The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship, (New York [United States] and Houndmills, Basingstoke [United Kingdom]: Palgrave Macmillan) ISBN 1-4039-2173-3
This is the first book-length English language study to focus on the concept of the age of consent. Chapter 3 'Age of Consent Laws in Global Perspective' provides a global survey of academic literature on age of consent laws, and comparative data on age of consent laws in states worldwide. The book also provides a unique history of age of consent laws in the United Kingdom, in-depth theoretical discussion of the rationale for age of consent laws, and a proposal to reduce the age of consent in the UK to 14 for young people who are less than two years apart in age.

Websites attempting to list the age of consent in many jurisdictions:

  • Avert.org AIDS awareness organisation Chart of ages of consent around the world that welcomes sourced updates from their readers.
  • Moral Outrage Contains links to and extracts of age of consent laws for all 50 US states and the legislative source for each.

Websites dealing specifically with homo/heterosexual discrepancies in law Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from...

  • Gay rights info and Homosexual rights information collated by individual Bill Myers from many sources

Websites with some out of date information:

  • Legislation of Interpol member states on sexual offences against children (Much information out of date)

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Age of consent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1900 words)
This should not be confused with the age of majority or age of criminal responsibility or the marriageable age.
Where a jurisdiction's age of consent laws for sexual activity treat those convicted of those laws with the same severity as criminal rape the law is often referred to as statutory rape.
Age of consent reform refers to the efforts of some individuals or groups, for different reasons and with varying arguments, to raise, lower, abolish or otherwise alter age of consent laws.
Ageing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1624 words)
Age is usually measured in full years (except for young children, where this downward rounding would be too crude) and a person's birthday is often an important event.
Ageing is believed to have evolved because of the increasingly smaller probability of an organism still being alive at older age, due to predation and accidents, both of which may be entirely random and age-invariant.
Organismal ageing is generally characterized by the declining ability to respond to stress, increasing homeostatic imbalance and increased risk of disease.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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