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Ideally this paragraph should have a nice introduction to the section talking about…
– Local services you can contact to talk to about sex
– When can a person legally have sex?
– Is the law the same with all genders?
– What is sexual consent
– What are the laws relating to HIV disclosure, exposure and transmission
*YEAH does not provide legal advice. The following legal information about sexual consent has been sourced directly from http://www.lawstuff.org.au
Deciding to have sex with someone is a big step. The decision is up to you. If you feel pressured to have sex, or if you’re not sure, you can say no. The other person must respect your choice. If they try to have sex with you without your permission, they are committing a crime.
If you are thinking about having sex with someone, you need to be aware of the risks. Sex (including oral and anal sex) carries with it a risk of contracting a sexually transmissible infection (STIs) like chlamydia and blood borne viruses (BBVs) like HIV. The best way to avoid being infected with an STI is to use condoms and lube, or other safer sex tools like dams and gloves.
Another risk is unplanned pregnancy. If you plan to have sex with someone of the opposite sex, you should learn about the different kinds of contraception, like condoms and birth control pills. Both males and females need to consider the risk of unplanned pregnancy, and talk to each other about what kind of contraception they feel comfortable using.
Some good people to talk about these issues with include your parent or guardian, doctor, or the following health providers:
• Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT• 02 6247 3077 • Provides sexual and reproductive healthcare and counselling services. This service is for both males and females.
• ACT Women’s Health Service • 02 6205 1078 • Provides sexual and reproductive healthcare and counselling services. This service is for women and girls who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or those who experience barriers to accessing health services, such as violence, disability, or poverty.
• Like It Is – Provides information on sex, sexuality, contraception, etc. This service is for both males and females.
16 and above
Once you are 16, you can legally have sex with any other person who is 16 or over as long as you both agree to it.
If you are under 16, no-one is allowed to have sex with you.
Even if you agree to have sex with someone, it is still against the law for that person to have sex with you. They can be charged with a criminal offence.
A person may be able to defend themselves against such a charge if:
• you agreed to have sex with them; AND
• you were 10 years or older at the time of having sex ; AND
• EITHER they were not more than 2 years older than you; OR they “believed on reasonable grounds” that you were 16 or older.
Just because someone doesn’t ask your age doesn’t mean that they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that you are 16 or over.
Is the Law the same for sex with all genders?
Yes, the law is the same for heterosexual sex (sex between a male and a female), homosexual sex (sex between two people of the same genders) and sex between people of any gender.
If someone performs a sexual act on you (this can be intercourse, oral sex or touching your genitals or breasts) and you did not consent to it, this is called sexual assault and it is a criminal offence.
Remember that you can say “yes” to some sexual activities, and “no” to others. Letting someone kiss you, for example, doesn’t mean they can touch you in other ways without your permission. Even if you say “yes” to sex, you can always change your mind if you begin to feel uncomfortable. You have the right to decide what happens to your body.
Consent means agreeing to have sex voluntarily and with a clear mind. If you say “yes” to sex while you are drunk or high, or because the other person’s actions make you scared to say “no,” this doesn’t count as consent. Likewise, there is no consent when the person who agrees to sex has a serious mental or intellectual disability that affects their ability to understand what is happening.
Always double check that the person you want to have sex with is sober and is comfortable with the decision to have sex. Asking “are you sure?” won’t make you look silly – it shows that you care, and it keeps you out of trouble.
For more information please visit:
What is Sexting?
Sexting usually refers to:
• taking naked or partly naked photos or videos of yourself (posing in a sexual way) and sending the photos either via the internet or mobile phones; and
• receiving or forwarding such photos or videos through mobile phones, internet and social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace.
Is Sexting a Crime?
Sending or possessing these images is a crime if the image is of someone under 18.
It is a crime if you:
• send out or publish; or
• have in your possession
Offensive images of someone under the age of 18 (including yourself). Examples of offensive images may include pictures of sexual activity, sexual poses or actions or nudity. This is called child pornography.
These images include film, photos, digital images and videos and images sent by SMS, emails, chat rooms and publishing on blogs.
If you take and send a photo/video of yourself:
It is a crime to create child pornography material (such as making a film or taking a photograph). It is also a crime to send it to other people (e.g. by SMS or email) or make it available for other people to look at. If you are under 18, this is the case even if the image is of yourself. You may be charged with a criminal offence for producing and distributing child pornography.
If you send sexual images of someone under 16 to other people:
It is a crime to send out these images or make them available to other people. You may be found to be distributing child pornography.
If you have in your possession sexual images of someone under 16:
You can be charged with a criminal offence for possession of child pornography.
However, if you were sent the images without asking for them, and you get rid of it as soon as you can, you will not be guilty of an offence.
It is also a crime for a person to send or have in their possession sexual images of any person between 16 and 18 years old if that person is in a position of authority over the 16 to 18 year old.
Can a child be convicted of a sexting crime?
A child aged 10-14 can only be found guilty of a crime if the child knew that their actions (or inactions) were seriously wrong and not just naughty. If you are over 14, you are old enough to be charged with a criminal offence.
The penalties for creating, sending or possessing child pornography can be serious.
HIV and the law
A person with HIV who transmits the virus to another, or exposes another person to the risk of HIV transmission, may have broken the law. There are significant variations between state and territory laws concerning disclosure of your positive HIV status to sexual partners, and the possible penalties for HIV transmission. Somewhat confusingly, there are potentially two types of laws involved. These are the public health laws, and the criminal laws, of each state and territory. The following is a brief outline of the relevant laws in the ACT.
Australian Capital Territory
Public health law: there is no specific legal obligation on HIV-positive people to disclose their status before having sex.
Criminal law: It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly inflict grievous bodily harm on another person. Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 15 years. It is possible that this law could be used to prosecute an HIV-positive person for transmission of HIV, but there have never been any such prosecutions in the ACT.