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If you are a young person seeking advice on sexual relations please refer to some of the following websites: Age of consent laws attempt to strike a balance between protecting children and young people from exploitation and other harms, and preserving their right to privacy and healthy sexual development.

Young people at the age of consent are viewed by law to have general sexual competence to enforce personal boundaries and negotiate the risks involved in sexual activities.

For more information about the legislation concerning these issues, see the report (Quadara, Nagy, Higgins, & Siegel, 2015).

When an adult engages in sexual behaviour with someone below the age of consent, they are committing a criminal offence (child sexual abuse).

Age of consent laws cannot be considered in isolation to other legislation concerning issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse.

Provides the round (up through round 4) respondent first reported having sex.

Other questions include how often the respondent dated and the number of different people he or she went out with on a date in the past year (round 1) or since the last interview (subsequent rounds).

Individuals are encouraged to check the currency of any information that is provided by contacting relevant departments or organisations.

This sheet is designed to inform practitioners and researchers of age of consent legislation in Australia.

Note: Starting in round 13, respondents were no longer asked about the number of dates and the number of dating partners.

Beginning in round 6, the instrument expanded to gather more detailed information on dating patterns and relationships, and habitation status (e.g., cohabiting, married, etc.).

Rounds 2 and up also included a question that specifically asked whether respondents used a condom that first time.

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