NSW Government
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Consent, age & the law

In NSW, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years. However, young people often express their sexuality earlier through behaviour with their peers as part of their normal sexual development. The challenge for the law and those working with young people is to ensure young people are protected from sexual exploitation but not disempowered or criminalised for normal sexual exploration. Distinguishing the behaviours that require a child protection or legal response, and those which represent healthy sexual development can be difficult. Resources that can help include: child protection policies and procedures, mandatory reporting guidelines, and guides to understand, identify and respond to sexual behaviours in children and young people. For more information on consent and the law, and sexual behaviours in children and young people, see the references here. Download Consent and the law fact sheet

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