Alex's Answer

Minors both consenting, is it illegal

Your Question

Is it illegal for two minors to have sex with both side consent 

Answer

Hello there!

Thank you for reaching out to us in Ask Alex.  It sounds like you have a question around the age of consent. You have been very brave opening up to us about this. 

In Ireland, a person must be 17 years of age to consent to engaging in any sexual act. This means the law states that any young person under the age of 17 is not legally old enough to consent to any sexual act, even when they want to. It is also important to remember that engaging in a sexual act without consent or with someone who cannot consent, is a crime.  The age of consent applies to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.  

It sounds like you are thinking about consent between two young people under the age of 17? In cases like this, the law recognises that people under 17 do sometimes engage in sexual activity with each other, and this meant that the law introduced a ‘proximity of age’ defence or the ‘Romeo and Juliet Defence’. This means that if a young person is accused of a sexual act with someone who is 15 or 16, they can put forward a defence, but only if all these conditions apply. 

  • The person is younger or not more than two years older than the child.  

  • Consent was given freely and voluntarily. 

  • Neither person felt exploited or intimidated 

  • Neither person is in a position of authority, for example, a teacher or doctor.  

The ‘Romeo and Juliet Defence’ may be open to an 18-year-old and their partner of 16, but only if ALL of the above is met, and it may be up to a court of law to decide whether or not to bring formal charges against the older person.  

The law is an important consideration when you are thinking about having sex, however, it is important to also think about being emotionally ready to have sex. More information and support around this to be found on the Childline website here www.childline.ie/how-to-know-when-youre-ready-to-have-sex/. 

Remember, Childline is always here for you if you want to talk about this further You can call Childline on 1800 66 66 66or reach out through our webchat service, by clicking on the purple Messenger circle on www.Childline.ie. Childline is a non-judgmental and confidential service, so it is a really safe space to talk. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

You are never alone, please reach out if you need further support or have more questions. Look after yourself,

Alex

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