Having sex

As a young person, you have rights and responsibilities when it comes to sex. Make sure you know what they are.

The age at which it is legal to have sex is called the age of consent. In the UK and Jersey the age of consent is 16 years old for everyone, whether they want to have sex with someone of the same or opposite sex.

Under the age of 16 any sort of sexual touching is illegal.

In the case of someone in a position of trust - like a teacher, for example - having sex with a young person they have responsibility for it would be against the law if the young person was under 18.

Consent

Any sort of sexual contact without consent is illegal whatever the age of the people involved.

Sometimes people can be in a situation where do not feel free to make a choice about whether they want to have sex. This might be because of the threat of violence, for instance, or pressure from their partner. Sometimes people may not have the ability to consent, for instance, because they have a serious mental disorder or because they are incapacitated by drugs or are asleep. If a person is in this situation, they are not considered able to give consent and the law protects them.

Prosecution

The age of consent law was designed to protect young people from harm rather than to prosecute them. If you are under 16 and you are having sex, you may not be prosecuted as long as there is not a large age difference between you and your partner and you both consent (are happy) to have sex and there is no evidence of any exploitation. However, you should ask for advice if you are at all worried and never agree to have sex, whatever age you are, if you do not want to.

For more information on sex and your rights, contact Ask Brook on 0808 802 1234. Your call will be confidential. That means we won't tell anyone about it.

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