In relation to sexual abuse charges in each state and territory, the key difference between child sexual assault and adult sexual assault is that adult sexual assault is based on the absence of sexual consent, whereas in child sexual assault, the issue of consent is superseded by age of consent laws (Eade, 2003).
An important distinction should be made between "willingness" and "consent".
According to theoretical and practical understandings of consent, those key elements include: Equality relates to the balance of power and control between those involved in sexual activities.
A reasonable degree of equality needs to exist between the parties engaged in sexual activities, whether that pertains to relationships (authority and dependency), physical and/or intellectual capacity, or age (Conroy, Krishnakumar, & Leone, 2015; Craig, 2014; Mc Carthy & Thompson, 2004; Ryan, 1997).
Sexual interaction that is harmful and abusive between two young people under the legal age can be difficult to identify and determine.
In situations where there is a clear age difference - for example a teenager and a young child - any sexual interaction is sexual abuse, as there is a definite power imbalance.
Ryan (1997) proposed three factors that must be considered in order to evaluate sexual interactions between two or more children: consent, equality and coercion.
A child may be willing to engage in sexual behaviour; however, as they do not have the decision-making capacity to give consent according to law, all sexual interactions between an adult and a person under the age of consent are considered abusive (Barbaree & Marshall, 2006).
The legal age for consensual sex varies across Australian state and territory jurisdictions (see Table 1).
No state has any laws about 'dating.' All states have laws about sexual consent and the acceptable age.
Most states have set it at 16, but some are at 17 or 18.
I was told 16 years of age is the legal age to allow a teenager to babysit...