Age of consent

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Different countries have different ages of consent.

If two people want to have sex, there are laws that say that they must be a certain age. This is called the age of consent. At that age, law says that the people are mature enough to decide for themselves if they want to have sex with each other.

The age of consent varies between states and countries. The laws in different areas range as low as 13 yrs old to 20 yrs. The laws are almost always affected by a nation's culture. Nations with Islamic law tend to have lower ages. European countries often range from 14yrs to 17yrs. In the United States, the age varies from 16 to 18. In many areas, there is a "close-in-age" part of the laws. This allows for people under of consent but above a certain age to have sex with people as long as there older partner is either less than a certain age or the difference in age is a certain amount of years. The age of consent may also vary if one of the people is in a position of authority over the other. For example, if the older person was a teacher, member of the clergy or the police the age may be higher than for other people, an example of this is Indiana where the age where a person can have sex is 16 except if the older partner is a teacher, in which case the age limit is 18.[1] There may also be a minimum age where consent is possible. Some areas do not think it is a crime if the older person believed that the younger person was of legal age while in other areas, this is not allowed. If the two people are married, the age is often much lower. Age of consent can also be affected by the type of sex or the sex of the person. Many areas have different ages for homosexual sex as well as anal sex . There are areas which also have different ages depending on if the person is male or female.

For example, in Victoria, Australia, the age of consent is 16.[2] The law says that the minimum age is 12 and that there is a two year "close-in-age" exception. It is against the law to have sex (or any other sexual act) with a person under the age of 12, even if they said yes.[2][3] If one of the people having sex is between the age of 12 and 15, the other can not be more than two years older than that person. A 13yr old can have sex with a 15 yr old. A 15 yr old (still a minor) can have sex with a 17 yr old (an adult).[2][3] It is against the law for a person to have sex with someone aged 16 or 17 if they are responsible for their care.[3][4]

If a person is caught having sex, or any other sexual act, with someone who is below the age of consent, the person may be punished as a sex offender. The violator may be sent to prison. For example in 2011, an American swimming teacher was sent to prison for 16 months for having sex with a 15 year old student.[5] The law usually applies to both males and females having sex with a minor.[6]

Some examples of the age of consent are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where the age is 16 [7] with no marital or close in age exemptions, and Ireland where it is 17 for legal consent and 15 for reduction of penalty from felony to misdemeanor, also with no provisions for marriage or age disparity.

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