Age of consent

Age of consent

The law in Victoria sets clear age limits for when you can legally have sex. This is called age of consent.

A person can be charged with a sexual offence if they perform a sexual act that breaks these age limits, even if the younger person agrees to it.

The age of consent for same-sex relationships is the same as it is for heterosexual relationships.

Under 12 years old

If you are under 12, a person can't have sex with you or touch you sexually or perform a sexual act in front of you, even if you agree.

Twelve to 15 years old

If you are 12 to 15, a person can’t have sex with you, touch you sexually or perform a sexual act in front of you if they are more than two years older than you, even if you agree.

However, it is not an offence if the person honestly believed that you were 16 or if there was less than a two-year age difference between you. This is exactly two years. For example, if a person is 17 and has sex with someone who is 15, it is not a crime. But if the person was 18, it is a crime unless the person believed the person was 16.

Sixteen to 17 years old

A person who is caring for you or supervising you, like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer, can't have sex with you or sexually touch you or perform a sexual act in front of you, even if you agree, unless they are married to you. However, it is not an offence if the person honestly believed you were 18 or older.

When one person does not agree to sex

As well as the age limits, the law says that two people can’t have sex unless they both agree (consent). If you don’t agree and someone threatens you or touches you sexually they are breaking the law.

If someone has sex with you or touches you sexually when you are asleep, unconscious or so affected by alcohol or drugs that you are not able to agree, it is still sexual assault.

Sex can be complicated by people taking and sending digital pictures or video. If this is of someone who is or appears to be a minor (under 18) it can be child pornography if the picture depicts sexual behaviour or is in an indecent context.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with sex and the law.