Sex and The Law

The age of consent in England to any form of sexual activity is 16 for both men and women. However, the law is not intended to prosecute mutually agreed teenage sexual activity between two young people of a similar age, unless it involves abuse or exploitation.

Specific laws protect children under 13, who cannot legally give their consent to any form of sexual activity.

Health professionals may provide contraceptive advice and treatment to young people under 16, if in their judgement, they believe it is in the young person’s best interests and the young person is considered able to give an informed consent.

Professionals working with young people are able to provide confidential sexual health advice, information or treatment if it is in order to protect the young person from sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, to protect their physical safety or to promote their emotional well being.

If a young person is under 16, consent from parents is not legally necessary, although the involvement of parents is encouraged.

Young people are entitled to the same duty of care and confidentiality as adults.  Confidentiality may only be broken when the health, safety or welfare of the young person, or others, would otherwise be at risk.

Sexual Offences Action 2003 – Legislation Prevents

  • Sexual activity with a child
  • Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
  • Engaging in sexual activity in presence of a child
  • Causing a child to watch a sexual act

Sexually Active Young People Policy

The welfare of children and young people is paramount and is the first duty of every practitioner.

The Sexually Active Young People policy is in place to help identify risks which will inform practitioners when to involve Children’s Social Care and when the situation requires criminal investigation by Lincolnshire Police.

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Last updated: 5 November 2015

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