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Learning how to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, will also help you become more confident when the time is right to have sex.

Generally, it is legal to have sexual contact with someone who is 16 years or older if they agree to have sex with you. It is important to know that in some situations a person must be 18 years old to consent to sexual activity.

Depending on what you are doing and who you are doing it with, sexual activity with a person under 18 years-old is illegal.

The police will not charge you with assault if the force you use is reasonable.

You can use the force that is necessary to protect yourself from the attacker.

Being aware of global variations is also a good idea to avoid breaking the law in other countries.

Also remember that ‘sex’ means different things in different countries.Unlike "forcible rape" statutory rape can involve underage participants who willingly agree to have sex.4 The term for an adult using their age or authority over a young prepubescent person to have any type of sexual contact.If you are involved in an abusive relationship it is important to talk to someone.These exceptions make sure the law does not label consensual activities between young people as criminal offences.It is not a criminal offence if: These exceptions only apply if the older person is not in a position of authority or trust and there is no exploitation.For example, even if a 14 year old agreed to sexual activity with her/his 19 year old basketball coach, the law does not consider that the consent was freely given. The law also says that children under 12 years of age can never legally consent to sexual activity. You can show by your words OR actions that you do not consent.Actions, such as struggling and trying to leave, show that you do not consent.However, a person cannot use this defence if: Just because you agreed to meet someone, does not mean that you consented to sexual activity.If you are a young person under 18 years who has been “lured” (see definition on page 5) into a meeting for the purpose of sexual activity, a court would determine exploitation by considering how old you are, the age difference between you and the person accused of the crime, the nature of the relationship between the two of you, and the amount of control or influence that he or she had over you.Age of consent laws are there to protect young people from being sexually exploited by adults, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child says that you have the right to be protected from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.So, if the law discovers an adult in a sexual relationship with someone under the age of consent, the adult will be charged with a sexual offence such as: The crime for those who have sex with a person under the age of consent, but who is past the age of puberty.

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