What Is The Age Of Consent In Victoria?

What Is The Age Of Consent In Victoria?The law in Victoria sets clear age limits for when you can legally have sex. This is called the age of consent.

A person can be charged with a sexual offence if they perform a sexual act that breaks these age limits, even if the younger person agrees.

In Victoria, a person aged 16 years or more can legally consent to having sex with someone else, as long as they are not in a position of authority (like a teacher, youth worker or foster carer). There are some nuances and exceptions to this rule which the rest of this article will delve deeper into.

The Definition Of Age Of Consent

The age of consent serves as a clear boundary in criminal law, establishing a clear age limit for having sex. It’s important to note that ‘having sex’ isn’t just about penetration, it also includes any other sexual act as well as sexual touching (touching breasts and other sexual body parts)

Laws For Children Below The Age Of 12

Victoria absolutely prohibits sexual activity of any form for children below the age of 12

Laws For Children Between The Age Of 12-16

Children below 16 years of age cannot give consent, with one main exception. Victoria has so-called "Romeo and Juliet" laws, which allow for sexual activity between young individuals close in age, even if one is below the age of consent.

For example, an individual aged 13 can only consent if the other party is not more than two years older. The law becomes even stricter for those under 12, with absolute prohibitions for any sexual activity.

Understanding these legal age limits and their implications is crucial for protecting both yourself and others. If you have any concerns or questions about these laws, it's advisable to consult a criminal defence lawyer in Melbourne for expert legal advice.

Sixteen to 17 Years Old

In Victoria, the current age at which one can legally give consent is 16 years old, however, there are certain important exceptions in place. Between the age of 16-17, no person who is in a position of authority over you such as a teacher, carer or youth worker may have sex with you, engage in any sexual acts with you or perform a sexual act in front of you.

Having Consensual Sex

Before 30 July 2023, the definition of consent in Victoria differed from its current status. However, post this date, the law was revised to lay heavy emphasis on the concept of continuous mutual communication. The law now underscores that consent is not just a one-time agreement but a continuous process.

It’s About More Than Just Saying “Yes”

The law says that two people can’t have sex unless they both freely and voluntarily agree. This is about more than just saying “yes”, it’s about:

  • Mutually agreeing.
  • Being of legal age.
  • Ensuring your partner is sober and comfortable with the decision.
  • Ensuring that there’s no fear or coercion involved in the decision for either party.
  • Not being related, including half or step-siblings.

Severe Punishments For Individuals Found Guilty Of Sexual Offences

If charged with a sexual offence in Victoria the legal process is rigorous and unforgiving. Given the severity of such offences, police hold extensive powers, including the ability to apprehend suspects without a warrant.

Repeat sex offenders can also face additional charges of breaching a court order in circumstances where protective orders have been issued against them to safeguard certain minors, underscoring the law’s rigorous stance on protecting young individuals.

Not only are the punishments severe, but additionally when dealing with serious sex crimes, particularly those involving children, some lawyers may refuse to take on a client based on personal, ethical or moral reasons.


Understanding Victoria's age of consent is vital for one's rights and protection. As laws may evolve, it's essential to stay informed and consult official resources or legal experts for specific clarifications.

Resources & Further Reading:

  1. https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/age-consent
  2. https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/crimes-act-1958/300

Staff Writer

Emma is a staff writer at Josh Smith Legal with a law and arts double degree. She expertly bridges the gap between legal intricacies and clear communication.

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