Close-in-age exemptions Some jurisdictions have laws explicitly allowing sexual acts with minors under the age of consent if their partner is close in age to them. This has led to gender-neutral laws in many jurisdictions. Circumstances of the relationship In several jurisdictions, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with a person under a certain age under certain circumstances regarding the relationship in question, such as if it involves taking advantage of or corrupting the morals of the young person. For example, until , in the UK, before the Sexual Offences Amendment Act , there was no statutory age of consent for lesbian sex. In Kuwait, this means that boys must be at least 17 and girls at least 15 years old.
Circumstances of the relationship In several jurisdictions, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with a person under a certain age under certain circumstances regarding the relationship in question, such as if it involves taking advantage of or corrupting the morals of the young person. Most jurisdictions have set a fixed age of consent. Traditionally, age of consent laws regarding vaginal intercourse were often meant to protect the chastity of unmarried girls. Examples of such positions of trust include relationships between teachers and students. In the US, in Michael M. These include Canada in —from 14 to 16 ; and in Europe, Iceland in —from 14 to 15 , Lithuania in —from 14 to 16 , Croatia in —from 14 to 15 , and Spain in —from 13 to The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings which came into force in also deals with commercial sexual exploitation of children. In Kuwait, this means that boys must be at least 17 and girls at least 15 years old. For instance, in Canada , the age of consent is 16, but there are two close-in-age exemptions: 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 power over the minor e. In Canada , the age of consent for anal sex is officially higher at 18 years, compared with 16 years for vaginal and oral sex. Reasonable belief that the victim is over the age of consent In some jurisdictions it is a defense if the accused can show that he or she reasonably believed the victim was over the age of consent. This has led to gender-neutral laws in many jurisdictions. In both the United Kingdom and Western Australia, for example, the age of consent was originally 21 for same-sex sexual activity between males with no laws regarding lesbian sexual activities , while it was 16 for heterosexual sexual activity; this is no longer the case. Close-in-age exemptions Some jurisdictions have laws explicitly allowing sexual acts with minors under the age of consent if their partner is close in age to them. The enforcement practices of age-of-consent laws vary depending on the social sensibilities of the particular culture see above. Some jurisdictions prohibit all sex outside of marriage irrespective of age, as in the case of Yemen. Several Western countries have raised their ages of consent recently. The sex of each participant can also influence perceptions of an individual's guilt and therefore enforcement. Marriageable age and Child marriage The age at which a person can be legally married can differ from the age of consent. Ages can also vary based on the type of calendar used, such as the Lunar calendar ,  how birth dates in leap years are handled, or even the method by which birth date is calculated. For example, the age of consent in the US state of Delaware is 18, but it is allowed for teenagers aged 16 and 17 to engage in sexual intercourse as long as the older partner is younger than In countries where there are gender-age differentials, the age of consent may be higher for girls—for example in Papua New Guinea , where the age of consent for heterosexual sex is 16 for girls and 14 for boys,  or they may be higher for males, such as in Indonesia, where males must be 19 years old and females must be 16 years old. Jurisdictions use a variety of terms for the offense, including child sexual abuse , statutory rape , illegal carnal knowledge , corruption of a minor,  besides others. For example, while the age of consent is 14 in Germany and 16 in Canada, it is illegal in both countries to engage in sexual activity with a person under 18 if the activity exploits the younger person. In these jurisdictions, it is illegal to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage, so the de facto age of consent is the marriageable age. For example, until , in the UK, before the Sexual Offences Amendment Act , there was no statutory age of consent for lesbian sex.
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