Dating law minor
The top end of the continuum may include physical force, threats of harm and overt violence.If the relationship between two children or young people under the legal age of consent is unequal, non-consensual or coercive, it is abusive and may require a child protection or judicial response.An important distinction should be made between "willingness" and "consent".A child may be willing to engage in sexual behaviour; however, as they do not have the decision-making capacity to give consent according to law, all sexual interactions between an adult and a person under the age of consent are considered abusive (Barbaree & Marshall, 2006).In Tasmania and South Australia the age of consent is 17 years of age.Although the legal age of consent throughout Australia is either 16 or 17 years of age, legislation in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory makes it an offence for a person in a supervisory role to sexually engage with a person under their special care who is aged 16 or 17 years.
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).
Mc Lelland (2016, p.4) points out that, "in many jurisdictions provisions aimed at protecting young people from sexual predation and exploitation can also be used to criminalise and prosecute the sexual self-expression of those under the age of 18" - even when the young person is at the age of consent.
A survey of Australian teens and their sexting behaviours finds that, "16-17 year olds must navigate sexual practices that can be both consensual and legal, but illegal to visually record" (Albury, Crawford, & Byron, 2013, p. This can present challenges to young people and those who work with them.
A person in a supervisory role providing "special care" may include: a teacher, foster parent, religious official or spiritual leader, a medical practitioner, an employer of the child or a custodial official.
For further information regarding sexual interaction with 16 and 17 years old under special care please see the relevant state or territory legislation.
When an adult engages in sexual behaviour with someone below the age of consent, they are committing a criminal offence (child sexual abuse).