Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Age of consent

Sexual activity is a normal part of adult life.  But it's a normal part of adult life - it's not something appropriate or normal for children. 

That means there is a age below which someone can never legally agree to any sexual activity.  And agreement to sexual activity is always required. Unconsented to sexual activity at any age is always unlawful. 

The age of consent means the age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity.  Sexual activity means all types of sexual conduct ranging from kissing to fondling to sexual intercourse.
In Canada the age of consent for sexual activity is generally 16 yearsHowever, the age of consent is 18 years where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person -- when it involves prostitution, pornography or occurs in a relationship of trust.  So, an 17 year old can legally have sex with a 25 year old but if that 25 year old is the 17 year old's teacher or pastor the sexual activity is unlawful. 
There are some exceptions to these fairly strict rules - these exceptions are intended to recognize teenagers, even young teens, have boyfriends and girlfriends and that is not a problem.  Specifically there are "close in age" exceptions to the age of consent. 
For example, a 14 or 15 year old can consent to sexual activity as long as the partner is less than five years older and there is no relationship of trust or any other exploitation of the young person. 
There is also a "close-in-age" exception for 12 and 13 year olds: a 12 or 13 year old can consent to sexual activity with another young person who is less than two years older and with whom there is no relationship of trust or other exploitation.
So a 13 year old girl can lawfully have sex with a 15 year old boy provided the boy is not, for example, the girl's superior in the Rangers. 


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