The ages of 14 and 16 had been relevant since the Criminal Code for the German Empire came into force in In West Germany the latter rule was kept, with minor changes in Unblemishedness was no longer required, and the court could refrain from punishment if the offender was under 21 years of age. The German Democratic Republic , by contrast, created a new socialist criminal code in Female homosexuality was not prosecuted.
In West Germany, male homosexuality was legalized in The age of consent was set to 21 years and reduced to 18 years in Only only men of 18 or older could be offenders and courts could refrain from punishment if the offender was not yet In East Germany, the criminal code was supplemented in by a provision that allowed the waiving of prosecution if no harm had been done to socialist society by the unlawful act.
In the GDR supreme court ruled homosexuality was a variant of sexual behaviour just as heterosexuality. West German law makers also saw the need for gender- and sexual-orientation-neutrality, and for rebalancing sexual self-determination with the protection of minors. In general, the need for a complaint from the former West German law was kept, but in the case of special public interest, the offence was made prosecutable ex officio, as had been the case in East German law.
The age of consent in Greece is The general provision for age of consent in Greece is 15 as specified by Article , as well as Articles , B of the Greek Penal Code. In , along with the legalization of same-sex civil unions , Article which provided a further prohibition of seducing a male under 17 if the actor is a male adult was repealed , therefore equalising age of consent for homosexual acts.
There are also several other prohibitions regarding positions of authority and acts of lewdness, as specified by Articles and Furthermore, there is a close-in-age exemption of 3 years age difference for indecent acts between persons younger than The age of consent in Hungary is A close-in-age exemption allows sexual acts from age 12 if the older party is under The new criminal code in force since 1 July reads: Until homosexual acts were illegal.
After decriminalisation the age of consent for homosexual acts was 20 and remained so until From then until the age of consent for such acts was 18, as specified by Section In the Hungarian Constitutional Court repealed Section and the age of consent for homosexual acts was lowered to 14 in line with heterosexual acts. The age of consent in Iceland is 15 , as specified by Section of the Icelandic Penal Code, which reads: The age of consent was raised from 14 to 15 in The age of consent in Ireland is 17 ,  in relation to vaginal, oral, or anal sex, and vaginal or anal penetration.
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In the case of offenses with children aged 15 and 16, the relevant statute, Sexual act with child under 17 years of age , provides that "8 Where, in proceedings for an offence under this section against a child who at the time of the alleged commission of the offence had attained the age of 15 years but was under the age of 17 years, it shall be a defence that the child consented to the sexual act of which the offence consisted where the defendant— a is younger or less than 2 years older than the child, b was not, at the time of the alleged commission of the offence, a person in authority in respect of the child, and c was not, at the time of the alleged commission of the offence, in a relationship with the child that was intimidatory or exploitative of the child.
Anal sex was illegal under the Offences against the Person Act , while the Criminal Law Amendment Act criminalised "Defilement of girl between thirteen and sixteen years of age", with more severe penalties for "Defilement of girl under thirteen years of age".
The Carrigan Report into child sex abuse and underage prostitution recommended raising the age of consent to 18 years. The Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act decriminalised male homosexual acts and created offences of " Buggery of persons under 17 years of age" and " Gross indecency with males under 17 years of age". It advised that close-in-age cases should remain criminalised, but with more lenient guidelines for sentencing.
It also recommended wider publicity of the age limits. The age of consent in Italy is 14 years, with a close-in-age exception that allows those aged 13 to engage in sexual activity with partners who are under the age of 18, provided that the age gap between them is less than 3 years. The age of consent rises to 16 if one of the participants has some kind of influence on the other e. Not knowing that the victim is underage is not a legal defense, except when it was unavoidable ignorance.
If the minor involved is under the age of 11, the crime can be punished even without a complaint and the punishment is aggravated. It is also illegal to perform sexual acts in the presence of a minor aged less than 14 with the intent of allowing the minor to witness the acts, even if they do not take an active part. See also more related articles from Interpol. The age of consent in Kazakhstan is 16 , according to article of the Crime Criminal Code. Sexual Intercourse and Other Actions of a Sexual Character with a Person Under Sixteen Years of Age Sexual intercourse, sodomy, or lesbianism or other acts of sexual nature, with a person who did not reach sixteen years of age , the guilty party being aware of that fact, shall be punished by restriction of freedom for a period up to three years, or by detention under arrest for a period up to six months, or deprivation of freedom for a period up to five years.
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The age of consent in Kosovo is Article of the Penal Penalty Code states that "Term 'Consent' means the voluntary agreement of a person who has reached the age of sixteen years to engage in the sexual act in question", and Article states that, 1. Whoever subjects another person to a sexual act without such person's consent shall be punished by imprisonment of two 2 to ten 10 years". Sections and provide harsher penalties for rape and forcible sexual assault of juveniles.
Until , male homosexual acts were illegal under Section This provision was repealed by the Latvian Parliament in and the age of consent for male homosexual acts was set at In , the Latvian Parliament adopted a new Criminal Code that contained a complex system of sexual offences: In , the law was amended to clarify the situation and confirm that the age of consent was 16 for all acts only a person aged 18 or older can be punished for having sex with a 14—15 year old. The age of consent in Liechtenstein is Sexual activity with 14—15 year olds is generally legal, but it can still be punished if sexual access to these children has been obtained by exploiting their lack of sexual self-determination.
The age of consent 14 was not set directly in this article of the Lithuanian criminal code, though. It has been established by the Lithuanian case law. This meant that both heterosexual and homosexual acts were allowed once a child had reached the age of 14 [ citation needed ]. There was and remains an exception to this rule: Until , male homosexual acts were prohibited under the Lithuanian Criminal Code, Article , which was repealed in that year.
The new law set an age of consent of 17 for male oral and anal intercourse, 16 for other male homosexual acts, and 14 for lesbian and heterosexual acts. In , the law was amended to equalise the age of consent at 14 for all sexual acts; the age of consent was raised to 16 in , regardless of gender and sexual orientation. The age of consent in Luxembourg is 16 , as specified by the Luxembourgish Penal Code, Article , which reads: The penalty will be imprisonment of five to ten years if the child was less than eleven years old.
Article 1 of the Criminal Code of Macedonia prohibits sexual conduct with a "child" and a "child" is defined by Article 71 as a person under However, Article prohibits an adult living in an extra-marital community with a Juvenile under The age of consent in Malta is Art of Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta Presumption of violence in cases of carnal knowledge and indecent assault states:. The punishment is imprisonment from three to nine years, with or without solitary confinement, as described in Art.
The punishment can be increased in certain cases described in Art. A number of aggravating circumstances exist to this blanket provision including: Abuse of parental authority or tutorship, where the victim is under the age of 12 and if the offence is committed by means of threats or deceit. There is no definition of how old the offender must be: Even another minor can be guilty of this crime,  although there is no evidence that any such case has ever been prosecuted.
The interpretation of the law is situational and at the discretion of the prosecution and the courts, based on relevant factors that may be taken into account to decide whether the minor was actually "defiled".
For example, in two brothers, aged 19 and 20, were found not guilty of defiling a girl, then aged 16 until the age of consent was Their sexual encounters were consensual, and it was clear that the girl had had several previous sexual adventures with several youths. He had set up a situation in which the boy came to his apartment; as a result of both childish curiosity and what the court deemed to be the guile of the adult man, the boy remained in the apartment even while man first showered and then committed the lewd acts.
In the wording of the law there is no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, discrimination can result from selective enforcement with regard to individual cases. Marriage is allowed as early as the age of 16, which until May theoretically would have allowed a case to arise in which a spouse press charges under this article.
In practice, this problem has never arisen. The concept of age-banding employed in for example Canada is not present in the Maltese legal system and sexual activity between one partner who is 15 years old and another who is 16 years old can constitute defilement of minors, depending on the circumstances, with no exception being allowed purely on the basis of the proximity of their ages. The primary objective of the Act is to transpose the Council of Europe Convention on prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence, and it also includes amendments that lowered the age of consent to The age of consent in Moldova is 16 , per Article " Sexual intercourse with a person under 16 ", and Article " Perverted Actions ".
Articles and provide harsher penalties for Rape and Violent Sexual Actions including physical or mental coercion against juveniles. The age of consent in Monaco is The age of consent in Montenegro is 14 , as set out in Article of the Criminal Code. Article makes it illegal for a teacher, instructor, guardian, adoptive parent, stepfather, stepmother or other person with a similar position to abuse one's position or authority in order to perform sexual intercourse or an equal act with a minor under 18 entrusted for teaching, education, custody and care.
Article 2 makes it illegal for a person to "provide for performing debauchery, an act equal to it or some other sexual act to a minor". Article prohibits "Extramarital community with a minor" Article reads: The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16 , as specified by the Dutch Criminal Code at Article ,  and Article  which read:. Close-in-age exceptions for consensual acts between adolescents close in age, within "social-ethical norms" are at the discretion of the prosecution. In the s, the Netherlands gained international attention due to its policies regarding the age of consent.
Between and  the Netherlands operated what was in effect an age of consent of 12, subject to qualifications.
The relevant law, passed in November, , permitted sexual intercourse for young people between 12 and 16 in most circumstances, but allowed a challenge by parents or by the Child Protection Agency if there was evidence of exploitation. The Netherlands has gained an international reputation of being extremely liberal on sexual issues, with some of this due to exaggerated reports in foreign media and claims by foreign politicians, rather than based on reality.
For instance, during the s, some conservative campaigners in the US claimed that children were sold into sexual slavery at "auctions" held in Amsterdam , but did not produce any evidence to support their claims. Prior to , sodomy was illegal, the age of consent only applied to females and sexual contact with a female between the ages of 13 and 16 was a misdemeanor.
Age of consent reform in the United Kingdom
As of , the age of consent is set at 16 for both males and females, sexual contact with any child under 16 regardless of gender is a felony and the ban on sodomy is lifted, thereby legalizing homosexual sex. Even though one may be found guilty of violating the age of consent code, if those involved are "about equal as regards age and development", the court can exercise its own discretion to suspend passing a sentence. Sexual relations between two women was never explicitly criminalized, but have been prosecuted under the general indecency law of the Civil Penal Code of The ban on sex between men, which also outlawed cohabitation  as well as sex with animals, was repealed in   bestiality having been recriminalized in .
According to the Svalbard Treaty, Norwegian law is applied as the minimum standard. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone, who records pornographic material with the participation of such a person. Poland never imposed laws against homosexuality. However, in homosexuality was criminalised by the laws of occupying countries see Partitions of Poland. In the first Polish Criminal Code after regaining independence was introduced, making the age of consent of 15 for all sexual acts, regardless of sexual orientation.
Since September , the age of consent laws of Portugal states 14 , regardless of sexual behaviour, gender or sexual orientation, as a result of the constitutional court of Portugal ruling on constitutional protection that explicitly includes " sexual orientation ", formally into the Constitution of Portugal back in Since September , the age of consent was formally equalised as part of the Penal Code of September Although the age of consent is stipulated at 14 in Portugal, the legality of sexual acts with a minor between 14 and 16 is open to legal interpretation since the law states that it is illegal to perform a sexual act with an adolescent between 14 and 16 years old "by taking advantage of their inexperience".
Homosexual acts were legalised for the first time in Portugal in , with an equal age of consent at that time - although homosexuality was again re-criminalised in They were decriminalised a second time in and an age of consent was set at 16, in line with heterosexual activities. In , a new Penal Code was introduced with "different circumstances" for different sexual behaviours.