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  1. How sweet is sixteen? Legal age limits in England and Wales
  2. How sweet is sixteen? Legal age limits in England and Wales - Full Fact
  3. Sex, the law and you
  4. Accessibility links

Consent to medical treatment if you are under 16 you can also consent to medical treatment if you are capable of understanding the nature and possible consequences of the procedure and treatment. Earn the National Minimum Wage for 16 and 17 year olds. Work as a waiter or waitress in a hotel or restaurant. You must pay full fare on buses and trains unless you have a travel concession pass. Join a ScotWest credit union. At 17 you can: Hold a license to drive a car, small motorcycle or tractor.


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Hold a private pilot's licence. Train to be an officer in the Armed Forces Army from 17 years 9 months, Navy from 17 years, Air Force from 17 years 6 months. It is still possible for you to be adopted if you are under 18 and not married.

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How sweet is sixteen? Legal age limits in England and Wales

At 18 you can: Earn the National Minimum Wage rate for year olds. Become liable to register and pay the Council Tax. Serve as a juror. Buy alcohol in licensed premises and consume alcohol in a bar. Buy or possess fireworks. Hold a credit card. Work behind a bar. Hire or buy a sunbed. Be licensed to serve alcohol. Hold a licence to drive a medium-sized goods vehicle. At 21 you can: Stand in European parliamentary elections as an MEP.

Hold a license to drive any vehicle, including large goods and passenger-carrying vehicles.

Supervise a learner driver so long as you've had your licence for at least 3 years. Be sent to an adult prison. Within reason, you can do the following at any age Get access to personal information held on computer under the Data Protection Act Get access to your health records, or social work records which are held manually. Make a complaint under the Equality Act. You can carry an organ donor card at any age. Hold premium bonds that were bought by a parent, guardian, grandparent or great-grandparent.

Different types of sexual assault include:. It is illegal for anyone over 18 to encourage anyone under 16 to watch a sexual act. This includes watching porn. It is illegal to take a sexual picture or video of anyone under 18, even if it is of yourself. It is also illegal to share it with someone else. Can young people get punished for breaking the law? At what age can I have sex? What is sexual assault? Different types of sexual assault include: Someone being touched in a sexual way that makes him or her feel uncomfortable or frightened.

This could be through their clothes like bottom pinching. Someone being made to masturbate Any other form of physical closeness that happens without consent is known as sexual assault. The age of consent 14 was not set directly in this article of the Lithuanian criminal code, though. It has been established by the Lithuanian case law. This meant that both heterosexual and homosexual acts were allowed once a child had reached the age of 14 [ citation needed ].

There was and remains an exception to this rule: Until , male homosexual acts were prohibited under the Lithuanian Criminal Code, Article , which was repealed in that year. The new law set an age of consent of 17 for male oral and anal intercourse, 16 for other male homosexual acts, and 14 for lesbian and heterosexual acts.

In , the law was amended to equalise the age of consent at 14 for all sexual acts; the age of consent was raised to 16 in , regardless of gender and sexual orientation. The age of consent in Luxembourg is 16 , as specified by the Luxembourgish Penal Code, Article , which reads: The penalty will be imprisonment of five to ten years if the child was less than eleven years old. Article 1 of the Criminal Code of Macedonia prohibits sexual conduct with a "child" and a "child" is defined by Article 71 as a person under However, Article prohibits an adult living in an extra-marital community with a Juvenile under The age of consent in Malta is Art of Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta Presumption of violence in cases of carnal knowledge and indecent assault states:.

The punishment is imprisonment from three to nine years, with or without solitary confinement, as described in Art. The punishment can be increased in certain cases described in Art. A number of aggravating circumstances exist to this blanket provision including: Abuse of parental authority or tutorship, where the victim is under the age of 12 and if the offence is committed by means of threats or deceit.

There is no definition of how old the offender must be: Even another minor can be guilty of this crime, [73] although there is no evidence that any such case has ever been prosecuted. The interpretation of the law is situational and at the discretion of the prosecution and the courts, based on relevant factors that may be taken into account to decide whether the minor was actually "defiled".

How sweet is sixteen? Legal age limits in England and Wales - Full Fact

For example, in two brothers, aged 19 and 20, were found not guilty of defiling a girl, then aged 16 until the age of consent was Their sexual encounters were consensual, and it was clear that the girl had had several previous sexual adventures with several youths. He had set up a situation in which the boy came to his apartment; as a result of both childish curiosity and what the court deemed to be the guile of the adult man, the boy remained in the apartment even while man first showered and then committed the lewd acts. In the wording of the law there is no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

However, discrimination can result from selective enforcement with regard to individual cases. Marriage is allowed as early as the age of 16, which until May theoretically would have allowed a case to arise in which a spouse press charges under this article. In practice, this problem has never arisen. The concept of age-banding employed in for example Canada is not present in the Maltese legal system and sexual activity between one partner who is 15 years old and another who is 16 years old can constitute defilement of minors, depending on the circumstances, with no exception being allowed purely on the basis of the proximity of their ages.

The primary objective of the Act is to transpose the Council of Europe Convention on prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence, and it also includes amendments that lowered the age of consent to The age of consent in Moldova is 16 , per Article " Sexual intercourse with a person under 16 ", and Article " Perverted Actions ". Articles and provide harsher penalties for Rape and Violent Sexual Actions including physical or mental coercion against juveniles.

The age of consent in Monaco is The age of consent in Montenegro is 14 , as set out in Article of the Criminal Code. Article makes it illegal for a teacher, instructor, guardian, adoptive parent, stepfather, stepmother or other person with a similar position to abuse one's position or authority in order to perform sexual intercourse or an equal act with a minor under 18 entrusted for teaching, education, custody and care. Article 2 makes it illegal for a person to "provide for performing debauchery, an act equal to it or some other sexual act to a minor".

Article prohibits "Extramarital community with a minor" Article reads: The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16 , as specified by the Dutch Criminal Code at Article , [85] and Article [86] which read:. Close-in-age exceptions for consensual acts between adolescents close in age, within "social-ethical norms" are at the discretion of the prosecution.

In the s, the Netherlands gained international attention due to its policies regarding the age of consent. Between and [88] the Netherlands operated what was in effect an age of consent of 12, subject to qualifications. The relevant law, passed in November, , permitted sexual intercourse for young people between 12 and 16 in most circumstances, but allowed a challenge by parents or by the Child Protection Agency if there was evidence of exploitation. The Netherlands has gained an international reputation of being extremely liberal on sexual issues, with some of this due to exaggerated reports in foreign media and claims by foreign politicians, rather than based on reality.

For instance, during the s, some conservative campaigners in the US claimed that children were sold into sexual slavery at "auctions" held in Amsterdam , but did not produce any evidence to support their claims. Prior to , sodomy was illegal, the age of consent only applied to females and sexual contact with a female between the ages of 13 and 16 was a misdemeanor.


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As of , the age of consent is set at 16 for both males and females, sexual contact with any child under 16 regardless of gender is a felony and the ban on sodomy is lifted, thereby legalizing homosexual sex. Even though one may be found guilty of violating the age of consent code, if those involved are "about equal as regards age and development", the court can exercise its own discretion to suspend passing a sentence.

Sex, the law and you

Sexual relations between two women was never explicitly criminalized, but have been prosecuted under the general indecency law of the Civil Penal Code of The ban on sex between men, which also outlawed cohabitation [93] as well as sex with animals, was repealed in [94] [95] bestiality having been recriminalized in [96].

According to the Svalbard Treaty, Norwegian law is applied as the minimum standard. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone, who records pornographic material with the participation of such a person. Poland never imposed laws against homosexuality.

However, in homosexuality was criminalised by the laws of occupying countries see Partitions of Poland. In the first Polish Criminal Code after regaining independence was introduced, making the age of consent of 15 for all sexual acts, regardless of sexual orientation. Since September , the age of consent laws of Portugal states 14 , regardless of sexual behaviour, gender or sexual orientation, as a result of the constitutional court of Portugal ruling on constitutional protection that explicitly includes " sexual orientation ", formally into the Constitution of Portugal back in Since September , the age of consent was formally equalised as part of the Penal Code of September Although the age of consent is stipulated at 14 in Portugal, the legality of sexual acts with a minor between 14 and 16 is open to legal interpretation since the law states that it is illegal to perform a sexual act with an adolescent between 14 and 16 years old "by taking advantage of their inexperience".

Homosexual acts were legalised for the first time in Portugal in , with an equal age of consent at that time - although homosexuality was again re-criminalised in They were decriminalised a second time in and an age of consent was set at 16, in line with heterosexual activities. In , a new Penal Code was introduced with "different circumstances" for different sexual behaviours.

Since September , the age of consent, regardless of sexual behaviour, gender or sexual orientation, is 14 [ citation needed ]. The new Romanian Criminal Code, [] which came into force on 1 February , sets a general age of consent of However, sexual acts that do not include penetration may be performed from age There is also a close-in-age exemption: The law sets several other restrictions in regard to children under In addition, it is illegal for an adult to engage in acts of sexual penetration with an adolescent under 18, if the adult abuses the authority or influence they have over the minor in order to gain the sexual access.

The relevant articles of the Criminal Code are Art. All these laws are gender neutral and apply regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved. For a very long time, the age of consent in Romania was The Penal Code of , which followed shortly after the union of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia , and was in force between and , set an age of consent of Under this code, Article read: With regard to rape article the victim being under 14 constituted an aggravating factor.

Nevertheless, the age of consent of 14 was maintained. Article of the code read: The late s and the early 21st century saw major modifications to the criminal code, in an effort to modify what was seen as outdated provisions, especially as Romania prepared to enter the EU. As such, homosexuality was decriminalized, the text of several criminal offences was modified by making it gender-neutral, the age of consent was lifted to 15 applicable to both girls and boys , punishments for several sexual crimes were increased, and the stipulation that a rapist could avoid punishment after rape if he married his victim was abolished.

Changes were made through Law no. Nevertheless, the rapid adoption of numerous laws led to poorly drafted and contradictory texts, which have caused difficulty among the jurisprudence and doctrine, and several cases ended to the High Court of Cassation and Justice in order to clarify the interpretation of the law. The age of consent in Russia is The age of consent changed several times in Russian history: Law of early tightened the consent laws in Articles and considerably.

However, only a person over 18 can be charged. Charges are relatively low up to 4 years of prison - regardless of gender - and "obscene actions" have even less charges. If the victim is not understanding the nature and consequences of the act due to their age being under 12 or mental abilities , it will be considered rape and charged much more severely up to 15 years of prison, or up to 20 if the victim is under Sexual intercourse committed by a person who has reached the age of eighteen years with a person who has not reached the age of sixteen years - shall be punishable by obligatory labour for a term of up to hours, or by restriction of liberty for a term of up to four years, or by compulsory labour for a term of up to four years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to three years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to four years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to ten years.

Pederasty or lesbianism in respect of a person who has not reached sixteen years of age effected by a person who has reached eighteen years of age - shall be punishable by compulsory labour for a term of up to five years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to three years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to six years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to ten years.

The deeds stipulated by Part One and Two of this Article committed to a person who has reached twelve years of age but has not reached fourteen years of age - shall be punishable with deprivation of freedom for a term of three to ten years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to fifteen years and with restriction of liberty for a term of up to two years or without such.

The deeds stipulated by Parts One, Two or Three of this Article committed in respect of two or more persons - shall be punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of eight to fifteen years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to twenty years. The deeds provided for by Parts One, Two, Three or Four of this article made by a group of persons, by a group of persons by previous concert or by an organised group - shall be punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of twelve to twenty years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to twenty years and with restriction of liberty for a term of up to two years or without such.

The deeds provided for by Part Three of this article made by a person with a previous conviction for having committed an offence against sexual integrity of a minor - shall be punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of fifteen to twenty years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to twenty years or by life imprisonment.

Where the age difference between the victim and the accused person is less than four years, the latter shall not be punishable by deprivation of liberty for the committed deed provided for by Part One of this article or by Part One of Article of this Code. The commission of lecherous actions without using violence by a person who has reached eighteen years of age in respect of a person who has not reached sixteen years of age - shall be punishable by obligatory labour for a term of up to hours, or by restriction of liberty for a term of up to three years, or by compulsory labour for a term of up to five years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to three years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to three years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to ten years.

The same deed committed in respect of the person who has reached twelve years of age but has not reached fourteen years of age - shall be punishable with deprivation of freedom for a term of three to eight years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to fifteen years and with restriction of liberty for a term of up to two years or without such. The deeds provided for by Parts One or Two of this article made in respect of two or more persons - shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of five to twelve years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to twenty years.

The acts stipulated by Parts one, two or three of this Article committed by a group of persons in preliminary collusion or by an organised group - shall be punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of seven to fifteen years with or without deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or to be engaged in a certain activity for a period of up to twenty years and with restriction of liberty for a term of up to two years or without such.

The deed provided for by Part Two of this article which is made by the person who has a previous conviction for having committed an offence against sexual integrity of a minor -. Illicit Sexual Relations or Other Sexual Actions with a Person Who Has Not Reached 16 Years of Age Illicit sexual relations, pederasty, or lesbianism, committed by a person who has reached 18 years of age with a person who obviously has not reached 16 years of age, shall be punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of up to three years or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to four years.

Depraved Actions Commission of depraved actions without the use of violence by the person who has reached the age of 18 years in relations to a person who obviously has not reached 16 years of age, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount up to thousand roubles, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period up to two years, or by restraint of liberty for a term of up to two years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to three years.

Illicit Sexual Relations or Other Sexual Actions with a Person Who Has Not Attained 14 Years of Age Illicit sexual relations, pederasty, or lesbianism, committed by a person who has attained 18 years of age with a person who obviously has not attained 14 years of age, shall be punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of up to three years or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to four years. Depraved Actions Commission of depraved actions without the use of violence, in relations to a person who obviously has not attained 14 years of age, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of to minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of three to five months, or by restraint of liberty for a term of up to two years, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to three years.

The penalty for having sex with a minor is not always applied. For example, in , Valentina Isaeva gave birth to a girl in Moscow, Russia at the age of 11 years, 10 months. The child's father was sentenced conditionally for child abuse but was not jailed because he was willing to support Valentina and their daughter. The age of consent in San Marino is 14 , per Article The age of consent in Serbia is 14 , regardless of sexual orientation or gender. This is regulated by Chapter 18 Sexual Offences of the Penal Code of the Republic of Serbia and especially Article prohibiting sexual intercourse with a child.

Article defines a child as a person under 14 years of age. Article prohibits sexual intercourse with a juvenile defined in Article as a person under 18 if the juvenile is entrusted for learning, tutoring, guardianship or care. Article furthermore forbids cohabitation with a minor person under 18 unless a marriage is conducted. From to , sexual acts between men of any age was a criminal offence in Serbia, although the law has never been applied. Then in , the age of consent was 18 just for anal sex between males; any male performing anal sexual conduct with another male, is punishable by up to 1 year in prison , 16 for all other sexual conduct.

Since , an equal age of consent came into force, regardless of sexual orientation or gender - This is regulated by the section of the Penal Code of the Republic of Serbia stating that "lewd acts" between a male adult and a male under the age of 16 is punishable by imprisonment from 1 to 8 years.

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There is no specific reference to "lewd acts" between two females of the same offence. The province of Vojvodina , a northern province of Serbia, had decriminalized homosexuality in [ citation needed ] , thus effectively making an equal age of consent for any sexual practice regardless of sex or gender. This lasted until Vojvodina lost its law-making power in The age limit of sexual acts in Slovakia is 15 , as specified by the Slovak Criminal Code, Section Any person, who has sexual intercourse with a person less than fifteen years of age or who subjects such person to other sexual abuse, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of three to ten years.

The history before within Czechoslovakia is commons with the Czech Republic. Until , homosexual acts were prohibited, however the Criminal Code of that year decriminalised such behaviour partially. However, under Paragraph , the age limit of restriction for homosexual acts was set at 18, besides the general limit 15 years. In , the whole Paragraph was repealed and the age limit became 15 for all. Until , male homosexual acts were prohibited, as was the case in all of former Yugoslavia. A new Penal Code was introduced in , which decriminalised homosexual acts and all discriminatory provisions were removed.

In , the age of consent was set at 14 for all acts. In , the code was amended to raise the age of consent to 15 years and added the condition for " a marked discrepancy between the maturity of the perpetrator and that of the victim'". The age of consent in Spain is 16 , under a new law which came into effect on 1 July There is a close-in-age exemption: The age of consent rises to 18 if there is deception or abuse of a recognized position of trust, authority or influence over the minor. Historically, the age of consent was usually twelve in the Christian kingdoms of Iberia.

A new Penal Code was introduced in Spain in which specified an age of consent of 12 for all sexual acts, but this was raised to 13 in and to 16 in Same-sex sexual acts were lawful in Spain from to , with the exception of the offence of "unusual or outrageous indecent acts with same-sex persons" between the years and In Adolfo Suarez 's government reversed the prohibition of homosexual acts in that law. The age of fifteen is referred to several times, for example in Section 4, which reads: There is a position of trust rule in which the age of consent is raised to The section mentioned above continues: It is not legal to have sexual intercourse with related adults either, but the sentences for that up to two years are considerably milder than those for rape of a child two to six years, four to ten years if aggravated.

There is also a close in age exception Chapter 6, Section 14 " Case B []. The Swedish age of consent also applies if the act takes place outside Sweden but the elder person later goes to Sweden. The elder person doesn't have to be a Swedish citizen or resident, but could be a tourist on a temporary visit. This is regardless of the age of consent in the country where the act took place. Homosexual acts, both between men and between women, were prohibited in Sweden since , then in homosexual acts became legal - but with a higher age of consent of 18 21 if the younger part was in a situation of dependency than for heterosexual acts, which was always set at The age of consent was finally equalized to 15 regardless of sexual orientation in Pornography laws were softened in the s.

However, there exists a close-in-age exception if the difference between the ages of the participants is three years or less Article 2. The age of consent in Turkey is the age of majority set at 18 as per Article 11 of the Turkish Civil Code. However, if the offender is a person who is forbidden to marry the child by law or is a person who is obliged to take care of the child due to adoption or foster care, then the prosecution doesn't require a complaint and the punishment is aggravated.

Article regulates any kind of sexual activity with minors under 15 or minors under 18 who lack the ability to understand the legal meanings and consequences of such actions as child sexual abuse. The Ottoman Empire , a predecessor state to the Republic of Turkey , decriminalized sodomy in The age of consent in Turkey was set at 15 for both heterosexual and homosexual sex in the penal code, but this was raised to 18 in