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Age of Consent in Brisbane

Updated on Oct 07, 2022 4 min read 228 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Jun 06, 2022 Updated on Oct 07, 2022 4 min read 228 views

Age of Consent in Brisbane

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The age of consent is the age at which a person can lawfully consent to sexual activity. The age of consent laws are different in each state and territory. The age of consent in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland is 16. The age of consent is the same regardless of the type of sex concerned and regardless of the sex and gender of those involved.

The age of consent in Brisbane

Until 2016, the age of consent in Brisbane and the rest of Queensland was 16 for vaginal sex; however, the age of consent of 18 applied to anal sex. Queensland was the only state or territory that had different ages of consent for different sexual activities. This was changed in 2016 as the old system was felt to be discriminatory and based on outdated attitudes towards homosexuality. In 2016, the Criminal Code Act was also amended to remove the word ‘sodomy’ was replaces with ‘anal intercourse.’

There is currently no provision in Queensland legislation to allow for consensual sex between young people under 16 where both are of a similar age. Elsewhere in Australia, such laws, dubbed ‘Romeo and Juliette laws’ allow for the situation where a consensual sexual relationship exists between young people.

In Queensland, any sex involving a person younger than 16 is unlawful.

Offences involving sex with a child under 16

It is an offence under section 215 of the Queensland Criminal Code Act to have carnal knowledge of a child under 16. Carnal knowledge includes sexual penetration of any kind and to any extent. This provision sets out different maximum penalties for offences involving carnal knowledge of children of different ages, with the harshest penalties applying to offences involving children younger than 12.

Section 210 of the Criminal Code Act contains an offence of indecent treatment of a child under 16. This offence has a broader scope than the offence of carnal knowledge as it encompasses sexual contact that falls short of penetration. It also includes exposing a child to pornography and engaging in an indecent act with a child.

A range of provisions also exists making acts preparatory to sex with a child under 16 unlawful. These offences include taking a child for an immoral purpose, using the internet to procure a child to engage in a sexual act, procuring a young person for carnal knowledge, and grooming a child. 

Defences to offences involving the age of consent in Brisbane

Where a person is charged with a sexual offence against a child who was aged over 12 but under 16 they have a defence if they believed on reasonable grounds that the child was 16 or older.

In Queensland, unlike some other Australian states, if a child under 16 consented to sex this cannot be used as a defence. This is the case even in cases where the child was aged 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged offence.

Child Offender Registers

In Queensland, persons who have been found guilty of particular child sex offences must register on the Child Protection Offender Registry. Persons on this registry must keep police informed of their residential details and inform police if they leave the state. They must also who are found guilty of serious child sex offences must register and stay on the registry for a stipulated period depending on the offence and whether they re-offend. However, persons found guilty of a single child sex offence who are sentenced to non-custodial orders are not required to register (Section 5(2)(b)).

The National Child Offender System records details of all registered child sex offenders in all jurisdictions of Australia.

The Chief Executive of Corrective Services may release the details of sex offenders where it is in the public interest to do so. This may occur when a person needs to know about a child sex offender’s accommodation or employment details. Before a person receives confidential information about an offender, they must sign a confidentiality agreement. If they do not sign this, they will receive only general information and not any information that identifies the offender.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Author

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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Published in

Jun 06, 2022

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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