The age at which a person is deemed legally competent to consent to sexual activity varies widely around the world - and even within Europe. Most countries prohibit sex with unders or unders, but in some places the age of consent is as low as 11, or as high as However, even within counties this can vary widely between males and females and in cases of heterosexual and homosexual sex. In the UK, the age of consent stands at 16, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The ages of consent around the world
Age of consent - Wikipedia
The ages of consent vary by jurisdiction across Europe. The ages of consent are currently set between 14 and The vast majority of countries set their ages in the range of 14 to 16; only three countries, Cyprus 17 , Ireland 17 , Turkey 18 , do not fit into this pattern. The laws can also stipulate which specific activities are permitted or specify the age at which one or other sex can legally participate.
The law on sex
The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts. Consequently, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a person younger than the age of consent is unable to legally claim that the sexual activity was consensual, and such sexual activity may be considered child sexual abuse or statutory rape. The person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim, and their sex partner is regarded as the offender, unless both are underage. The purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances.
Jump to content. This factsheet summarises some of the key points of UK law relating to sexual behaviour. It does not constitute legal advice. The age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16 for both men and women.