Age of consent

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Age of consent

The law in Victoria sets clear age limits for when you can legally have sex. This is called the 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 is the same for any sexual relationship regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the people having sex.

Under 12 years old

If you are under 12, even if you agree, another person can’t:

  • have sex with you
  • touch you sexually, or get you to touch them sexually
  • perform a sexual act in front of you.

For more information about what is considered a sexual act, see Sexual assault.

Twelve to 15 years old

If you are 12 to 15, even if you agree, a person who is more than two years older than you can’t:

  • have sex with you
  • touch you sexually, or get you to touch them sexually
  • perform a sexual act in front of you.

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 or older.

For more information about what is considered a sexual act, see Sexual assault.

Sixteen to 17 years old

If you are between 16 and 17 years old, even if you agree, a person who is caring for you or supervising you (like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer) can't:

  • have sex with you
  • touch you sexually, or get you to touch them sexually
  • perform a sexual act in front of you.

However, it is not an offence if they are married to you, or if the person honestly believed you were 18 or older.

For more information about what is considered a sexual act, see Sexual assault.

When one person does not agree to sex

As well as age limits, the law says that two people can’t have sex unless they both freely agree (also known as consent). If you don’t freely agree and someone threatens you to engage in a sexual act or touches you sexually or in a way that makes you uncomfortable, 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 freely agree, it is still a sexual offence.

Get help

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

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