Consent is extremely important when you are having sex.

If you do not consent to sex, then it is rape or sexual assault. You can withdraw consent at any time, even after you have started having sex.

Any sexual act, including kissing, touching or intercourse, that happens without your consent is illegal. This is true regardless of whether it happens with your boyfriend/girlfriend, date, friend or a complete stranger.

It is also important to understand what consent is. Consent is not just about how old a person is, as in some circumstances the law says you cannot consent to sex:

  • if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are confused or don’t understand what you’re doing;
  • if you are passed out and don’t know or understand what is happening; or
  • if you feel pressured, intimidated, threatened or forced into doing any sexual act.

Remember – your silence does not equal consent.

Age of Consent in Tasmania

It is a crime to have sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of 17.

The exception to this rule is where there was consent, and

  • that person was at least 15 and the accused was no more than 5 years older;
  • that person was at least 12 and the accused was no more than 3 years older.

“Sexual intercourse” means the penetration to the least degree of the vagina, genitalia, anus, or mouth by the penis and includes the continuation of sexual intercourse after such penetration.

It is a defence if it can be proved that the older person believed on reasonable grounds that the other person was 17 years of age or older.

It is also a crime to knowingly permit a person under the age of 17 to have unlawful sexual relations and you can be guilty of the crime. You can be sent to prison if found guilty of this crime.

Any person having a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 17 that they are not married to may be found guilty of “maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person” and could be sent to prison.

If you are convicted of these types of crimes you can also be put on the Sex Offender Register which can affect your job prospects.