The present legal situation
Bahrain and South Korea have highest minimum ages for consensual sex while Nigeria has lowest
Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense. For example, a state might set the age of consent at In these states, such as Texas, the age of consent is determined by age differentials between the two persons and limited by a minimum age. If you need a quick guide for each state, a chart is provided below. Be aware that the law may be more complex than the chart shows and that the information given is subject to change. You can refer to our reviews page if you want to know what our clients have to say about us. While at LegalMatch, Peter used his expertise to cover a wide range of topics in criminal law, personal injury, constitutional law, and estate planning. Peter is also an editor and writer, and you can find out more about him by checking out his Linkedin page. Law Library Disclaimer. Can't find your category?
The arguments against such a change in the law are summarised and shown to lack validity. It is regarded by many as a preposterous idea. When, in , the then President of the Faculty of Public Health, Professor John Ashton, made the proposal that the age of consent should be reduced from 16 years to 15 or even 14 years, it was immediately rejected by both government and opposition spokesmen. It is the case that there are many cogent arguments against such a move. It will be claimed here that none of these is valid. Further, it will be proposed not only that there would be specific advantages to changing the law in this way, but that the principles on which this proposal is based have implications for other ways in which the rights of young people are inappropriately curtailed. The existing laws in all the jurisdictions of the UK state 2 that the age of consent for any form of sexual activity is 16 years for both men and women.
This section focuses on laws addressing sexual intercourse. As the first column in Table 1 shows, the age of consent varies by state. In the majority of states 34 , it is 16 years of age. In the remaining states, the age of consent is either 17 or 18 years old 6 and 11 states, respectively. A common misperception about statutory rape is that state codes define a single age at which an individual can legally consent to sex. Only 12 states have a single age of consent , below which an individual cannot consent to sexual intercourse under any circumstances, and above which it is legal to engage in sexual intercourse with another person above the age of consent. For example, in Massachusetts, the age of consent is In the remaining 39 states, other factors come into play: age differentials, minimum age of the victim, and minimum age of the defendant.